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Coal Catechism 


M. Am. Soc. C. E. 
Author of" The Story of American Coals" etc. 







Published, April, 1906. 

Fifth Edition 

" // was only the other day, so to speak, that 
Nature turned a creature out of her workshop, 
who by degrees acquired sufficient wits to make 
a Jire, and then to discover that the black rock 



CATECHISM of Coal is intended for that 
great number of intelligent readers who have 
no technical training, and yet who prefer to 
seek knowledge by reading special subjects 
rather than fiction. A large proportion of 
these have neither the time nor the inclination 
to peruse the voluminous geological and 
statistical reports of the coal industry in the 
United States, or to study the ponderous 
volumes of gathered wisdom by technical 
experts. Their time is usually fully occu- 
pied with the cares of business and often 
with the fatigue of manual labor, and their 
hours for quiet reading or study are few and 
most precious. For these, the following 
plain questions and direct authoritative an- 
swers have been designed with a realizing 
sense of the readers' wants and aspirations. 
The task conscientiously assumed by the 
writer has been to verify all the answers by 
referring to competent authorities. The 
great number of these consulted renders it 


impossible to credit each one, as the result 
would be confusing and, in fact, impractica- 
ble, since the consensus of opinions is given 
and rarely that of an individual. It is as- 
sumed that the reader knows theoretically 
nothing about Coal, and the questions are so 
arranged as to lead him gradually through 
the various stages of its origin, development, 
and uses until a full knowledge of the sub- 
ject has been obtained. In justification of 
the catechetical form used the writer refers 
to the old educational catechisms used by 
our forefather's in many of the best universi- 
ties of Europe. No better manner has since 
been devised for imparting a thorough 
knowledge of a subject, especially to those 
young students in our schools and colleges 
who desire special instruction, or to those 
who, from want of opportunity or otherwise, 
have not received the necessary training for 
systematic study or reading. 

The writer needs no apology for his sub- 
ject ; its importance can scarcely be over- 
estimated. Coal is the basis of all energy 
and power, the prime mover of the wheels of 
industry. "With Coal, we have light, strength, 


power, wealth, and civilization ; without 
Coal, we^have darkness, weakness, poverty, 
and barbarism. The most civilized nations 
of the world are those consuming the most 
Coal. At the head of these stands the 
United States. 

W. J. N. 


ORIGIN ................... 13 

GEOLOGY ................... 26 

HISTORY ................... 3 s 

GEOGRAPHY ........ . ......... 50 

PRODUCTION ................ 60 

CLASSIFICATION ............... 71 










HEAT 173 


POWER 185 




GAS 204 

COKE 214 






1. What is coal ? 

Fossil fuel ; a black, earthy substance 
which is dug from the ground, and which 
can be burned for fuel. 

2. Of what does coal consist ? 
Chemically, it consists of carbon, volatile 

matter, sulphur, and ash, with a small 
amount of water. 

8. What is carbon ? 

Carbon is one of the most common of the 
elements. A diamond is pure carbon, and a 
piece of charcoal is carbon united with a 
small portion of oxygen. 

4. What is meant "by u volatile matter " ? 
The volatile matter consists of the gases, 
viz., hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. 

Coal Catechism 

The combustion of these gases is seen in the 
flame when the coal is burning. 

5. What is sulphur ? 

One of the simple elements. It unites with 
many of the metals. It is almost always to 
be found in coal in the form of iron pyrites, 
a brassylike substance occurring in layers 
from, the thickness of paper to half an inch. 

6. What constitutes ash ? 

Ash is the inorganic matter of coal ; the 
part that is not consumed in combustion. 
It is the earthy matter in the drift of the coal 

7. What was the coal period ? 

The period of time commonly known as 
the Carboniferous age, during which coal was 

8. When is this supposed to have been? 
Thousands of years ago. Ages before man 

was created. 

9. What is known of the Carboniferous age ? 
That it was remarkable for the luxuriant 

growth of vegetation of the fern variety and 

Coal Catechism 

such, plants as grow in water and swampy 
places. It is supposed that this mass of 
matted vegetation died down each year and 
formed into a peaty-like mass, which after- 
ward became coal. 

10. Coal, then, was formed on the surface of 
the ground; how has it since been buried ? 

These great beds of decayed and rotting 
vegetation became submerged by geological 
changes of the earth's surface, so that the 
water overflowed them, carrying large quan- 
tities of sediment, which covered them over 
or buried them. 

11. How do we account for several seams of 
coal, one over the other ? 

We suppose that vegetation again grew 
and flourished on the surface of the sedi- 
mentary deposit, as weeds quickly cover 
newly upturned soil, and that the process 
was then repeated. 

12. If coal was formed in low swampy 
places, why do we find it near the tops of moun- 
tains ? 

We have evidences that after the coal seams 

Coal Catechism 

were formed the crust of the earth became 
disturbed by cooling, or probably by volcanic 
upheavals, which disturbed the continuity 
of the strata containing the coal seams, so 
that the low, flat ground was elevated and 
formed hills and mountains. 

13. Was coal formed only in the Carbonif- 
erous age ? 

Coal was formed in all ages, but we do not 
know that any other age presented so lux- 
uriant a growth of vegetation and under 
similar conditions. 

14- What proof is there that coal was 
formed prior to the Carboniferous age ? 

In America we find graphite in geological 
strata as old as the globe itself, or what we 
know of it. 

15. What is graphite t 

In a black-lead pencil, the substance which 
is commonly called lead is graphite, and be- 
longs to the carbon family. It comes next to 
Anthracite coal. 

16. Of what does the carbon family consist ? 
Beginning with the diamond, which is es- 


Coal Catechism 

sentially pure carbon, we have next the 
graphite or plumbago used for stove polish, 
then Anthracite coal, Bituminous coal, lig- 
nite, and finally turf or peat, which is the 
youngest of the family. 

17. If, then, we find graphite in the older 
formations, is that proof that coal also existed ? 

Most geologists admit that graphite repre- 
sents the carbon which formed part of the 
woody tissue of plants that lived during those 
remote times, so that this mineral represents 
coal in the ultimate stages of carbonization. 

18. Have we any other proof than the opin- 
ions of geologists f 

Coal has been found converted into 
graphite, in the ground, by the intrusion of 
volcanic rock, which hastened the work of 

19. Where are some good examples of this 
in the United States? 

In the Anthracite coal mines of Ehode 
Island the outcrops frequently yield plum-> 
bago, and occasionally nests of almost pure 

Coal Catechism 

graphite are found in the coal beds, which is 
sold as black-lead. 

20. What other examples exist of pre- Car- 
boniferous coal ? 

In Scotland, where coal occurs in the old 
red sandstone formation. 

21. How do we know that coal was formed 
since the Carboniferous age ? 

Coal of post-Carboniferous age is found in 
Bavaria and in Germany, as also in the north- 
ern Tyrol and in Belgium and Austria. 

22. Give an example of more recent for- 
mations ? 

Coal has been found of Miocene age in the 
Arctic regions of Greenland within a few de- 
grees of the North Pole. 

23. Is coal forming at the present time ? 

As the formation of coal has been going on 
in all ages, ever since vegetable life appeared, 
it is reasonable to suppose that in the peat 
bogs, delta jungles, and mangrove swamps of 
the present time the formation of coal fof 
use in future ages may now be going on. 

Coal Catechism 

24. Give an example of probable coal for- 
mation now going on ? 

In the United States, at the mouth of the 
Mississippi Biver, we have the conditions 
required for future coal fields, swamps, peri- 
odical inundations of water, rapid growth of 
weeds and vegetation, which perishes and is 
decomposed every winter. 

25. Is coal a vegetable or mineral substance ? 

As before demonstrated, coal is of vege- 
table origin, which became mineralized on 
the spot where it grew, and is now found 
after countless years of time. 

26. Why do we suppose that vegetation must 
have been more profuse in the Carboniferous 
age than now ? 

It has been demonstrated by figures that all 
the carbon contained in all our immense for- 
ests would scarcely furnish a very thin seam 
of coal. 

27. Did it require all the forests of the Car- 
boniferous age to form coal ? 

It appears not, as parts of a true forest, 
petrified in place, have been found in the 

Coal Catechism 

middle of the coal itself, as well as of the 
sandstone near the surface of the ground. 

28. W here Juts this occurred f 

An example of this was observed in the 
mines of Treuil, at Saint fetienne, in France, 
where a standing tree was found in the posi- 
tion described. 

29. What does this prove ? 

That the coal had been formed at the foot 
of this tree in the same way as peat, and was 
subsequently covered up, compressed, heated, 
distilled, and mineralized into fossil carbon, 
or coal, from other vegetation than the trees 
of the forests, vegetation of rank and luxu- 
riant growth. 

50. Was the Carboniferous or coal period of 
long duration f 

Under such favorable conditions it seems 
probable that the Carboniferous age need not 
have been of long duration. At that time 
the common horsetails and club-mosses of the 
present day grew as large as our trees. 

51. How do we know that f 

By the impressions of the plants and flora 

Coal Catechism 

which are found in the rock strata. These 
impressions were originally made in the soft 
sandy material, which afterward hardened. 

32. What are these impressions called f 
They are called fossiliferous flora and or- 
ganic remains. 

S3. Are these fossiliferous flora found in the 

Occasionally small portions of leaves, 
stems and the structures of woody fibre are 
found in the coal itself, and the microscope 
reveals the presence of organic remains. 

84. Are these sufficiently numerous to prove 
that coal is of vegetable origin ? 

In the coal itself we find little proof of its 
origin, owing to the chemical and mechanical 
changes which have occurred in the original 

35. Where do we get the evidence from or- 
ganic remains ? 

In the interstratified clays, shales and other 
deposits we find plant remains in every state 
of preservation, from delicate ferns to the 

Coal Catechism 

trunks of trees. These prove the vegetable 
origin of coal. 

36. Are these fossil remains purifications or 
casts and moulds of the original flora ? 

The impressions of vegetation occur in four 
different conditions. Some consist of vege- 
tables converted into carbonaceous clay, and 
still invested with their bark reduced to char- 
coal. Others exhibit impressions of the same 
plant with the surface entire upon clay, slate, 
or sandstone. Others are decorticated (barked 
or husked) vegetables themselves, and lastly, 
others are impressions of these decorticated 

37. Name some of the fossiliferous flora ? 

Among the most common varieties of vege- 
table remains are the following : Sphenop- 
teris, sigillaria, lepidodendron, neuropteris, 
asterophyllites, and calamites. 

88. Describe the sphenopteris 1 

The sphenopteris is similar in appearance 
to a fern, with branching, beautifully formed 
leaves, their veins radiating from the base of 
the stem. 


Coal Catechism 

39. Is the sigillaria an important species of 
Carboniferous flora ? 

Probably more so than any other ; a great 
deal of the coal seems to have been formed of 
this tree, which measured from 3 to 5 feet in 
diameter. The impressions of the sigillaria 
are beautifully symmetrical, as though made 
by a seal in soft wax. 

40. What is remarkable in the lepidoden- 
dron ? 

The trees of the lepidodendron are known 
to have attained a growth of from 40 to 50 
feet, which is remarkable when we consider 
that they belong to the variety now called 
club-mosses, the largest - tropical variety of 
which does not now attain a height of more 
than 3 feet. 

41. Describe the neuropteris ? 

The neuropteris is of the fern variety, and 
has a broad leaf somewhat like a heart in 

42. WJiat is peculiar of the asterophyllites ? 
The asterophyllites are characterized by 

the graceful arrangement of the leaflets in 

Coal Catechism 

the forms of stars, radiating from a central 

43. To what plant has the catamites been 
corn-pared ? 

To the bamboo and equiesta, or common 
" horsetails." They seem to have grown in 
dense jungles or brakes. 

44- What remarkable circumstance is mani- 
fested in coal vegetation ? 

Its uniform appearance over the greater 
portion of the globe. The plants of the coal 
age are alike in Europe, America, Australia, 
and regions approaching the North Pole. 

45. What do we argue from this circum- 
stance ? 

That the climate of the globe must have 
been nearly the same in these far distant 
points at that period of the world's history. 

46. What kind of a climate must it have 

It must have been a warm climate with an 
abundance of moisture or humidity. It is 
also probable that the percentage of carbonic 

Coal Catechism 

acid in the atmosphere was much larger than 
now in order to account for the inordinately 
luxuriant growth of the plants which make 
up the fossil fuel. This climate would not 
have supported human life. 




47. What is geology ? 

Geology is an inquiry into the history and 
development of the earth's crust and of the 
several floras and faunas which have dotted 
and peopled its surface. 

48. What are geological systems f 

They are the different periods in the world's 
history which are distinguished from each 
other by rock strata containing similar fossils 
or organic remains. 

49. What is the oldest system ? 
The Archaean. 

50. How many systems are there ? 

Fifteen in all, as follows : Archaean, Cam- 
brian, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, 
Perinean, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, 
Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleis- 
tocene and Eecent. 

Coal Catechism 

51. In what system do we find the coal and 
coal fossils? 

In the Carboniferous principally, but they 
have also been found in several of the others. 

62. Do we find any proof of human life in 
the fossils of the Carboniferous system ? 

None whatever ; all scientists agree that no 
human being existed in that period of the 
world's history. 

53. Have we evidence of any living things f 
The coal measures contain fossils and casts 

or impressions of centipedes, spiders, lizards, 
scorpions, crabs, and lobsters, also an insect 
resembling a cockroach.- Many remains have 
been found of the mollusca, or shell-bearing 
animals, and also of fishes, many of great 
size. The air at that period was probably 
full of innumerable millions of infusoria in- 
festing the swampy land. 

54. How were the coal basins formed in 
America ? 

It is supposed that at one time vast seas 
swept over the land, excepting the elevated 

27 - 

Coal Catechism 

mountainous districts, which contained active 
volcanoes. The action of the waters rounded 
the fragments of volcanic rock and washed 
them into great basins of conglomerate rock 
and sandstone. 

55. How were these basins filled with coal ? 
Upon these beds or basins was accumulated 

the vegetable matter which, rotting and set- 
tling for ages, became coal. 

56. In what part of the world are these coal 
basins found? 

Principally in the United States, Great 
Britain, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, 
Eussia, Canada, Japan, Spain, New Zealand, 
Sweden, and Italy. 

57. Which of the foregoing countries contains 
the largest coal basins f 

The United States and Great Britain con- 
tain, in area, more than all the others com- 

58. How many principal coal basins are in 
the United States? 

There are six distinct basins. 


Coal Catechism 

59. Locate the largest basin ? 

It extends west from the Allegheny Moun- 
tains to the Missouri River, a distance of 
about 1,500 miles, and south from the lakes 
to the mouth of the Ohio Eiver, about 600 

60. How does this coal basin compare with 
those in Europe f 

It is larger than any other known basin in 
the world. It would cover half of Europe, 
having an area of 900,000 square miles. 

61. In how many States of the Union is coal 
found ? 

Twenty-eight States are now included in 
the coal producers. 

62. Name them ? 

The coal-producing States include Ala- 
bama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, 
Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Indian Territory, 
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michi- 
gan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North 
Carolina, North Dakota, 'Ohio, Oregon, Penn- 
sylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, 
Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Coal Catechism 

63. Were the coal basins once filled with 
water ? 

We suppose these great basins to have 
been, at one time, the beds of vast inland 
lakes or seas. 

64' What proof have we that such was once 
the case? 

Geologists trace the movements of vast 
bodies of water from the interior to the 
oceans. They point to the gaps and breaks 
in the great mountain ranges, traversing 
America from northeast to southwest, as the 
probable points through which these lakes 
burst and were emptied into the sea. 

65. What familiar example have we in evi- 
dence of these movements ? 

The Delaware Water Gap, as viewed from 
the summit of Mount Pocouo. Here the 
mountains resemble the breast of a great dam, 
and the Gap shows the break through which 
the pent-up waters rushed forth to the sea. 

66. Is it possible that any of our present lakes 
might burst their barriers ? 

It has been suggested that Lake Erie might 

Coal Catechism 

eventually be drained by the retrograde 
movement of Niagara Falls, which is gradu- 
ally wearing away the restraining rock that 
holds back the lake. 

67. What progress has already been made ? 
Niagara Falls has already receded some 

7 or 8 miles. 

68. At this rate how long would it take to 
reach the lake ? 

The rate of progress has been calculated at 
about one foot in a year. This rate being 
continued, it would take about 132,000 years, 
the distance being something less than 25 
miles. : j 

69. Into how many periods are the geological 
systems divided f 

Into four periods, viz., Eozoic, Palaeozoic, 
Mesozoic and Neozoic. 

70. In which period is the Carboniferous or 
coal system f 

It is in the second or Palaeozoic period of 


Coal Catechism 

71. How is coal usually found ? 

Coal is found in beds or seams, ranging in 
thickness from an inch to 30 feet, and cov- 
ering wide tracts of land. 

72. What are the coal "measures" ? 
Under that name are included all the vari- 

ous strata of rock occurring during the period 
of the coal formation. 

73. How are the coal-beds separated ? 
They are separated from each other by 

beds of sandstone and compressed clay or 

these coal-beds always continuous ? 
Very often the coal occurs in groups of sev- 
eral beds separated from each other by strata 
known as " barren measures" of consider- 
able thickness. 

75. What is the" under clay > > ? 

The underclay is the bed below the coal 
seam. It is a sort of fossil soil, filled with 
roots and rootlets, on which rests the coal. 

76. What is the physical structure of coal ? 
Coal consists of successive thin layers of 


Coal Catechism 

hard coal, sometimes bright and then dull, 
interspersed at irregular intervals with a 
dusty, fibrous substance, like charcoal, known 
as ' l mother coal. ' ' These alternate with thin 
partings or layers of dark shale or slate, 
upon which are usually present marks and 
impressions of the stems and leaves of 

77. Of what does the < < roof > > consist ? 

Above the coal is its roof of hardened 
clay or sandstone, and this generally con- 
tains many remains of plants and trees, also 
fossil stumps of trees. 

18. What are these fossil stumps called ? 

In some places they are known to the coal 
miners as " coal -pipes," and are dreaded by 
them in consequence of the accidents which 
occur from their suddenly falling after the 
coal which supported them has been re- 

79. What remarkable event in the worWs 
history occurred in the Carboniferous period ? 

The introduction into our world of the 
earliest known vertebrate animals, which 

Coal Catechism 

could open their nostrils and literally 
" breathe the breath of life." 

80. How had all previous animals lived ? 

All previous animals, except a few insects, 
had respired in the water by means of gills 
or similar apparatus. 




81. What is history f 

History is a continuous narrative of events ; 
a chronicle or register of happenings in the 
order of time ; a record. 

82. When does the history of coal begin ? 
The history of coal begins properly with 

the first mention which we can find of it in 
written or printed narrative. 

88. What is the earliest mention made of 
coal ? 

The first mention made of coal is contained 
in the Bible, Prov. 26 : 21, " As coals are 
to burning coals and wood to fire, so is a con- 
tentious man to kindle strife." 

84.. When and by whom was this written f 
It was written by King Solomon about the 

year 1016 B. c., and is supposed by many 

authorities to refer to charcoal. 

Coal Catechism 

85. Was not Solomon familiar with coal f 
King Solomon's empire contained Syria, 

which abounds in coal, fossils, and Bitumi- 
nous pits, and it is reasonable to suppose that 
the coal which is now found in the rocks 
about Herinon and Lebanon was not unknown 
to the Jewish king. 

86. What is bitumen f 

Generally speaking, bitumen is a mineral 
oil combined with other various substances. 

87. What are some of the properties of bi- 
tumen ? 

Among the properties of bitumen we have 
naphtha, petroleum, mineral tar, and asphalt. 
Coal is also supposed to contain some bitu- 

88. Where is the next mention of coal in the 

The next is contained in Isaiah 47 : 14, 
" There shall not be coal to warm at." 

89. When was this written f 

This was written about 750 B. c. and prob- 
ably 100 years before the next biblical men- 

Coal Catechism 

tion of coal, which occurs in Lamentations 
4:8, " Their visage is blacker than a coal." 

90. Have we any mention of coal in ancient 
times besides those made in the Bible ? 

A description of coal occurs in the writings 
of Theophrastus. 

91. Who was Theophrastus ? 
Theophrastus was a Greek orator and phi- 
losopher, and a friend of Aristotle. 

92. How did he describe coal ? 

He wrote: " Those substances that are 
called coals and are broken for use are 
earthy, but they kindle and burn like 
wooden coals." 

93. Where did he say they were to be found ? 
He described them as occurring in "Ly- 

guria, and in Elis, over in the mountains 
toward Olympias." 

94- How long ago was this written ? 

About 2,200 years ago, or over 300 years 
before Christ. This is the first mention of 
coal made by other than sacred writers. 

Coal Catechism 

95. Have we any mention of coal in the New 
Testament f 

The word "coals" is used by John the 
Apostle in his Gospel, 18th chapter and 18th 
verse, " And the servants and officers stood 
there, who had made a fire of coals, for it was 

96. When was this written ? 
Probably about the year 60 A. D. 

97. Save we any present evidences of coal 
being used in ancient times ? 

On several occasions tools and cinders have 
been found in England near the ancient 
Eoman wall, which seem to prove that the 
Britons used coal prior to 54 B. c., or the 
time of the Eoman invasion. 

98. What is the first actual record of the use 
of coal in England ? 

The first record is in the form of a receipt, 
which was given by the Abbey of Petersboro 
in 852 A. D. for " twelve cartloads of coal." 
The first record of actual mining operations 
is contained in the books of the Bishop of 
Durham in the year 1180. 

Coal Catechism 

99. Did the use of coal then become general f 
The use of coal must have been very grad- 
ual, for more than a hundred years later a 
Venetian traveler wrote to his countrymen 
about " a kind of black stone used like fire- 
wood," and they did not believe him. 

100. When was the first shipment of coal 
made to London ? 

In the year 1240, but it was not until nearly 
400 years later that the discovery was made 
that coal could be used in a blast-furnace for 
smelting iron ore. 

101. When was coal first discovered in 
America ? 

The first discovery of coal in America was 
made in 1679 by Father Hennepin, a French 
Jesuit missionary. In his journal he notes 
the traces of Bituminous coal above Fort 
Crecolier, on the Illinois Eiver, near the 
present town of Ottawa. 

102. When was coal first mined in America ? 
Coal was first mined in America in 1750 in 

the Virginia Bituminous coal fields, which 

Coal Catechism 

were opened and worked on the James Biver, 
near Bichmond. 

103. Was this an American enterprise ? 

The Virginia mines were owned and oper- 
ated by an English company, who for some 
time enjoyed the exclusive coastwise trade of 
the United States. 

104- Was this trade very large ? 

Not much coal was produced at first. The 
output was so expensively mined and the cost 
so great that few individuals used it in the 
coast cities, but burned wood instead. 

105. Are the mines still in operation ? 
Small operations are still carried on at the 

Gayton mines in Henrico County and the 
Midlothian mines in Chesterfield County, 
near Bichmond, Virginia. 

106. What peculiar features do these Vir- 
ginia coal fields possess f 

With one exception they are the only coal 
fields in the United States which are situated 
at or near the Atlantic seaboard. 

Coal Catechism 

107. Where are the other Atlantic seaboard 
mines located ? 

In the State of Rhode Island. 

108. What is the nature of the coal found 
there ? 

In Ehode Island is found a hard Anthracite 
coal, with occasional beds of plumbago, and 
pure graphite, commonly known as black- 

109. Are the Ehode Island mines in opera- 
tion ? 

Many efforts have been made to work these 
coals in competition with the great Pennsyl- 
vania coal beds, but practically without suc- 
cess. They are not now in operation. 

110. When was Anthracite coal first discov- 
ered in America ? 

Anthracite coal was first discovered in 
Ehode Island in 1760. In 1766 it was first 
found in the Wyoming Valley, in Pennsyl- 
vania, by James Tilghman, of Philadelphia, 
who sent a small sample of it to William 
Penn, in London. It was known in 1770 

Coal Catechism 

that Anthracite coal could be had near the 
towns of Mahanoy and Shamokin, in Penn- 
sylvania, and in 1790 its presence was discov- 
ered near Mauch Chunk, in the Lehigh region 
of Pennsylvania. 

111. When was the first shipment of Anthra- 
cite coal made in the United States f 

During the Eevolutionary War, in 1776, 
coal was taken to Carlisle for the United 
States Army. It was taken to Harrisburg, 
the present capital of Pennsylvania, in boats, 
or arks, and from there hauled in wagons to 

112. What other shipment was made by 
wagon ? 

In 1800 William Morris took a wagon load 
of Anthracite coal from Tamaqua to Phila- 
delphia, a distance of nearly 100 miles, but 
was unable to sell it. 

113. Why could he not sell it f 

The coal could not be made to burn, and 
was condemned as nothing but "black 
stones" and unfit for use. 

Coal Catechism 

11 If. How was coal first shipped by water? 

It was loaded on rudely constructed boats 
called u arks' 7 and floated down the rivers, 
in the direction of the current, to its destina- 

115. What were these arks like ? 

They were made of rough timbers, about 
90 feet long by 16 feet wide and 4 feet in 
depth. Each end terminated in a sharp 
point, with a single oar, some 30 feet long, 
requiring two men to work it. It usually 
took four men seven days to navigate an ark 
from the Anthracite mines of Pennsylvania 
to the Atlantic seaboard, the cost of the trip 
being about $50. 

116. How much did an ark cost ? 

The total cost of an ark was $70, and as it 
could not be brought back up stream or 
against the current it had to be sold with the 
coal for about $15. 

117. What was the cost of transporting coal 
by this system ? 

About $5. 00 per ton. 

Coal Catechism 

118. How does this price compare with the 
present price of transportation by railroads ? 

It was nearly five times greater. 

119. At what price was Anthracite coal sold 
in those days ? 

Anthracite coal was sold in Philadelphia 
and Baltimore at from $10 to $12 per ton. 

120. What was the capacity of an arTc ? 
An ark held about 60 tons of run-of-mine 


121. What is meant by i l run-of-mine J ' coal ? 
Coal as it is dug in the mines, lump and 

fine coal all together, without any prepara- 
tion or screening, is called run of mine. 

122. When was the first ark-load of Clear- 
field semi- Bituminous coal shipped ? 

In 1804 William Boyd shipped the first 
ark-load of Clearfield coal down the Susque- 
hanna Eiver to Columbia, in Pennsylvania, 
a distance of about 260 miles. This was fol- 
lowed by other shipments at irregular in- 


Coal Catechism 

128. Was this system of transportation a safe 
and easy one ? 

On the contrary, it was very dangerous 
and risky, on account of the rapid currents 
and submerged rocks in the beds of the 

124. W hat proportion of accidents occurred 
to these coal arks ? 

Only two -thirds of the arks which started 
down the rivers ever reached their destina- 
tion, one-third generally going to pieces on 
the bars and rocks. 

125. What other attempt of transporting coal 
by wagons followed that of Mr. Morris ? 

An attempt was made" in 1812 by Colonel 
George Shoemaker, of Pottsville, to haul coal 
by wagons and horses to Philadelphia. He 
succeeded in delivering nine wagon-loads of 

126. Was his venture a success ? 

The public was not familiar with "hard 

coal," having used nothing but Bituminous, 

and Colonel Shoemaker was regarded as an 

impostor for attempting to sell " black 


Coal Catechism 

stones ' J as coal. He had some difficulty in 
getting out of the city to avoid arrest ! 

127. What became of the nine wagon-loads 
of Anthracite coal ? 

Of the nine, two loads were sold, and the 
other seven loads he gave away. 

128. How was it ascertained that Colonel 
Shoemaker's coal would burn ? 

A whole night was spent in the effort to 
make the coal burn, when the men quit their 
work in despair, but left the furnace door 
shut. One of the workmen returning some 
time afterward found everything red-hot. 

129. When was the first cargo of Anthracite 
coal shipped "outside the Capes" ? 

In 1823 the first cargo of Anthracite coal 
was shipped around Cape Cod by vessel, con- 
signed to the Boston Iron Works. 

130. When icas the first shipment of Bitu- 
minous coal made from a Pennsylvania mint to 
the seaboard ? 

In 1828 an ark -load of Bituminous coal 
from Karthaus, in Clear-field County, Pa., 

Coal Catechism 

was taken down the Susquehanna Kiver to 
Port Deposit, at the head of Chesapeake Bay, 
and was then reloaded into a sailing vessel 
and carried to Philadelphia. 

131. When wan the first shipment of Bitumi- 
nous coal made from a Maryland mine to the 
seaboard ? 

In 1842 the first shipment of Bituminous 
coal from the Cumberland region, in Mary- 
land, was made by railroad to Baltimore, 
over the Baltimore & Ohio Eailroad. 

132. What was the cost of transporting An- 
thracite coal by wagons and horses to J'hUtidvl- 
plda ? 

From $25 to $30 per ton, which was so 
great as to make it impracticable. 

133. What other systems of transportation 
came into use ? 

The introduction of steam power, at about 
the year 1812, rendered some of our rivers 
navigable up stream as well as down, and 
about this time the construction of canals was 
begun in various States, notably in Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, and Virginia. 

Coal Catechism 

What is the first recorded movement of 
coal "by rail 77 ? 

In 1812, at Leeds, in England, an engine, 
made by Blenkinsop, hauled 33 coal- wagons, 
on a railroad, at a speed of 31 miles per 

135. When was the first attempt made to 
haul coal with locomotives in the United States ? 

In 1829 the first application of steam to 
coal transportation was made by Horatio 
Allen, at Honesdale, for the Delaware and 
Hudson Canal Company. His locomotive, 
called the u Stourbridge Lion, 77 and weigh- 
ing seven tons, was imported from England. 
It ran at a speed of 10 miles per hour. 

136. How many miles of railroad were in 
operation in the United States in the year 

About 40 miles altogether. 

137. How many miles are now in operation ? 
Over 203,000 miles, or six times that of any 

other country in the world. 

Coal Catechism 

138. Who invented the railroad ? 

To the coal operators in the North of Eng- 
land is unquestionably due the invention of 
the railroad. 

139. Why is the invention due to them ? 
They first contrived the double parallel line 

of rails fixed to the ground and furnished 
with flanges to prevent the wheels of the 
wagons from slipping aside when hauling 

140. What were these contrivances called ? 

These early railroads were called " tram- 
ways," and they are the origin of all the rail 
transportation systems in the world. 




IJ^l. How do the American coal fields com- 
pare with the transatlantic fields ? 

In area the American coal fields rank first 
of all known coal fields in the world. 

142. How do they compare with those of 
Great Britain ? 

The American fields are 37 times greater 
than the coal fields of Great Britain, accord- 
ing to estimates made by Professor Jevons, 
an eminent English scientist. 

143. What is meant by " the geography of 
American coals " ? 

The geography of American coals is a de- 
scription of the coal fields of America and 
their locations. 

144. Which State is the most important of 
the coal producers ? 

Pennsylvania is the largest coal producing 
State in the Union. 

Coal Catechism 

145. Which is the most important coalfield 
in the United States ? 

The Anthracite regions of Pennsylvania 
are of the first importance in the American 
coal fields. 

146. Where are they located ? 
Geographically the Anthracite fields are 

located about the middle of the eastern por- 
tion of the State, and include the counties of 
Susquehanna, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Carbon, 
Schuylkill, Columbia, Northumberland and 

147. What is the area of this field ? 

The Anthracite regions of Pennsylvania 
are comparatively small, embracing only 
about 480 square miles. 

148. How much did the Proprietary Gov- 
ernment pay for this strip of coal land ? 

It was purchased for 500, or, in American 
money, about $2, 500. 

149- Did the purchase prove to be a profitable 
investment ? 

From that investment we have realized 

Coal Catechism 

nearly $5,000,000,000 the value of the coal 
mined, at tide-watersince operations first 

150. Are there any other Anthracite coal 
fields in the United States * 

There are some fields of Anthracite coal in 
Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia, but 
they are small, and thus far have not pro- 
duced much coal. 

151. How are the Anthracite coal fields of 
Pennsylvania divided ? 

For trade purposes they are divided into 
three regions viz., the Wyoming, Schuyl- 
kill and Lehigh. 

152. Of the three regions named, which is the 
most important ? 

The Wyoming region is by far the most 
important, producing, as it does, over 50 per 
cent, of the entire output of Anthracite coal. 

153. Which region is the next in impor- 
tance f 

The next in size and production is the 
Schuylkill region, with 35 per cent, of the 

Coal Catechism 

entire output, while the Lehigh region comes 
last with the remaining 15 per cent, of pro- 

154' Where are the Anthracite fields of Col- 
orado situated f 

In Colorado the only Anthracite coal mined 
comes from the Grand River field, in the ex- 
treme western part of the State, which in- 
cludes the counties of Eio Blanco, Garfield, 
Mesa, Delta, Pitkin and Gunnison. 

155. Where are the Anthracite fields of New 
Mexico situated ? 

In New Mexico the Anthracite territory is 
in Santa Fe County. 

156. What curious coal formation here oc- 
curs ? 

In some parts of New Mexico both Anthra- 
cite and Bituminous coal occur in the same 

157. What is the cause of this occurrence ? 
It is supposed that the heat of the porphy- 

ritic rock which here penetrates the coal 
measures caused the transformation of Bi- 
tuminous coal into Anthracite. 

Coal Catechism 

158. How do the Bituminous coal fields of 
the United States compare in area with the 
Anthracite ? 

The territory in which Bituminous coal is 
found in the United States is more than 400 
times as extensive as the Anthracite fields. 

159. How are the Bituminous coal fields of 
the United States divided ? 

They are divided into seven regions, as fol- 
lows : The Triassic, Appalachian, Northern, 
Central, Western, Eocky Mountain and Pa- 
cific coast. 

160. Which of these divisions is the most 
important ? 

The Appalachian region is the most impor- 
tant of the seven great Bituminous divisions 
of the United States. 

161. Where is it situated ? 

It extends from the northern part of Penn- 
sylvania in a southwesterly direction, follow- 
ing the great Appalachian chain of moun- 
tains, to the central part of Alabama. 

Coal Catechism 

162. What is the area of this field ? 

Its area is about 62,690 square miles, cover- 
ing nearly all of western Pennsylvania, the 
southeastern part of Ohio, the western part 
of Maryland, the southwestern corner of Vir- 
ginia, nearly all of West Virginia, the eastern 
part of Kentucky, a portion of eastern Ten- 
nessee, the northwestern corner of Georgia, 
and nearly all northern Alabama. 

163. What is the length and breadth of the 
Appalachian Bituminous field? 

Its length is a little over 900 miles, and it 
ranges in width from 30 to 180 miles. 

164. Which is the next in importance of the 
seven grand divisions of the Bituminous coal 
fields ? 

The second region in importance and pro- 
ducing capacity is the central field, which in- 
cludes all of Indiana and Illinois and the 
western part of Kentucky, with an area of 
47,850 square miles. 

165. Which is the third Bituminous field 
in importance and product ? 

The western region, embracing all the coal 

Coal Catechism 

areas west of the Mississippi River, south of 
the forty-third parallel, and east of the Eocky 
Mountains, including Iowa, Missouri, Ne- 
braska, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas and Indian 
Territory, in area about 25,000 square miles. 

166. What does the Eocky Mountain Bitu- 
minous field include ? 

The Eocky Mountain region includes the 
coal areas contained in Colorado, Idaho, 
Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah 
and Wyoming, estimated at about 25,000 
square miles. 

167. What does the Pacific coast field em- 
brace ? 

The Pacific coast field embraces all the Bi- 
tuminous areas in the three States bordering 
on the Pacific Ocean, California, Oregon 
and Washington. Of the three States in- 
cluded in this field, Washington comes first 
in the quantity of coal produced, Oregon 
next, and California last. The coal produc- 
ing area has been estimated at 10,000 square 


Coal Catechism 

168. Where is the Northern field ? 

This is altogether in the State of Michigan, 
covering an area of 6, 700 square miles, and 
including nearly all the central part of the 

169. W here are the principal operations in 
the Northern field ? 

The principal operations are carried on 
near the city of Saginaw, in Saginaw County, 

170. What does the Triassic region com- 
prise ? 

The Triassic region comprises what is 
known as the Kichmond basin, in Chesterfield 
and Henrico counties, Virginia, and the Deep 
Eiver and Dan Eiver fields in North Caro- 

171. W hat is peculiar in the coal formations 
of this region ? 

As the name indicates, the coal formations 
here are of the Triassic geological period, or 
more recent than those of the Carboniferous 
age. Here also is found coal which in its 
formation differs materially from all other 

Coal Catechism 

coal formations in this country, and which is 
perhaps the oldest coal in existence, or the 
first creations of the Carboniferous age. 

172. Which State in the Union produces the 
greatest amount of Bituminous coal ? 

Pennsylvania, which produces each year 
about twice as much Bituminous coal as it 
does Anthracite. 

173. In which State does the great Appalach- 
ian coal field cover the most area ? 

In West Virginia the total coal area em- 
braces about 16,000 square miles, or 60 per 
cent, more than Pennsylvania, and more than 
80 per cent, of the total Bituminous area of 
Pennsylvania and Ohio combined. 

174- Which is the second State in impor- 
tame of the coal producers ? 

Illinois ranks second in coal production, 
but is first in coal area, which is about four 
times as large as the Bituminous areas in 
Pennsylvania, more than twice as large as 
that of West Virginia, and more than half 
as large as the entire Appalachian coal field. 

Coal Catechism 

175. How does West Virginia rank amongst 
the coal producing States f 

West Virginia ranks the third in impor- 
tance amongst the coal producing States, hav- 
ing a Bituminous area of about 24,000 square 

176. Which are the principal Bituminous 
coal producing States in the Union ? 

These four States : Pennsylvania, Illinois, 
West Virginia and Ohio. Together they 
produce more than twice as much coal as all 
of the other States combined. 

177. What is the total area of the Bitumi- 
nous coal fields in the United States f 

In some parts of the Western, Eocky Moun- 
tain, and Pacific coast fields the areas are as 
yet unknown, but the latest developments 
show a Bituminous area of nearly 200,000 
square miles. 




178. What is the coal production of the 
United States? 

The present annual total output from the 
coal mines of the United States is about 
350,000,000 tons, of 2,000 pounds to each 

179. What does this include ? 

This includes all the coal sent to market, 
either by shipment from the mines to distant 
points, that which is sold locally, and also 
the coal consumed by the mine employees and 
by the mine operators in locomotives, under 
stationary boilers, etc., in working the mines, 
and technically known as u colliery consump- 
tion. ' > It also includes the coal manufactured 
into coke. 

180. How much coal is used in colliery con- 
sumption and locally near the mines ? 

About 10,000,000 tons, of 2,000 pounds 
each, are used annually for colliery consump- 
tion, and 12,000,000 for local trade. 

Coal Catechism 

181. How much of this annual production is 
Anthracite coal ? 

The annual production of Pennsylvania 
Anthracite coal, which practically includes 
all the Anthracite coal produced in the 
United States, is about 65,000,000 tons of 
2,000 pounds. 

182. What is the value of this coal ? 

The value of Pennsylvania Anthracite coal 
is about $130,000,000, or an average of $2.00 
per ton of 2,000 pounds at the mines. 

183. How many men are employed in pro- 
ducing the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal ? 

The number of men employed in, and 
about the Anthracite mines is about 145,000. 

184' How many days in the year are these 
men employed ? 

The Anthracite miners average 175 work- 
ing days, or about two-thirds of the time. 

185. Of the total production of Anthracite 
coal, how much is mined outside of Pennsyl- 
vania ? 

Only 60,000 tons of 2,000 pounds each, 

Coal Catechism 

which is mined in Colorado and New 

186. What is the total production of Bitumi- 
nous coal in the United States ? 

The total production of Bituminous coal is 
about 285,000,000 tons of 2,000 pounds each 

187. What does this embrace ? 

It embraces all the Bituminous, semi -Bi- 
tuminous, gas-coals, canuel, block, lignite 
and brown coals. 

188. What is the value of this coal ? 

The present value of the total Bituminous 
production of the United States is about 
$285,000,000, or an average of about $1.00 
per ton of 2, 000 pounds, at the mines. . 

189. How many men are employed in pro- 
ducing this coal ? 

The number of men employed in producing 
the Bituminous tonnage is about 350,000. 

190. How many days in the year are these 
men employed ? 

The Bituminous miners average 225 work- 

Coal Catechism 

ing days, or about three-fourths of the 

191. Which is the most important of the 
coal-producing States ? 

Pennsylvania comes first, with about 30 
per cent, of the total Bituminous product ; 
but including her Anthracite product Penn- 
sylvania produces 51 per cent, of the total 
coal output. 

192. Which State is the second in the pro- 
duction of coal ? 

Illinois comes second, with 9 per cent, of 
the total coal output. 

193. Which State is the third in coal pro- 
duction ? 

West Virginia is the third in production, 
with 8 per cent, of the total. 

194. Which State is the fourth in importance 
of the coal producers ? 

Ohio is the fourth in production, with 7 
per cent, of the total tonnage of the United 


Coal Catechism 

195. Name the other coal- producing States as 
they rank in production ? 

Alabama is the fifth State in the produc- 
tion of coal 5 then comes Indiana, Colorado, 
Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Maryland, Wyo- 
ming, Missouri, Indian Territory, Virginia, 
Washington, Arkansas, Montana, Utah, New 
Mexico, Michigan, Texas, Georgia and 
North Carolina in the order named. 

196. Is any coal produced outside of these 
States ? 

A small annual production comes from 
California, North Dakota, Oregon and Idaho, 
but the total amount is comparatively small. 

197. What is the average production of An- 
thracite coal per man per ivorking day in the 
United States ? 

The average number of tons produced per 
working day by each man employed in all 
capacities in the Anthracite fields of the 
United States is shown by statistics to be 
about two net tons. 


Coal Catechism 

198. What is the average production of Bi- 
tuminous coal per man per working day in the 
United States ? 

The average number of tons produced per 
working day by each man employed in the 
Bituminous fields of the United States is 
shown by statistics to average about three net 

199. How much of the coal production of the 
United States is manufactured into coke ? 

Of the total coal production of the United 
States about 39,400,000 tons is manufactured 
into coke. 

200. In what year was Anthracite coal first 
produced in Pennsylvania- and what was the 
total tonnage ? 

In 1820 the total Anthracite production of 
Pennsylvania was 365 tons, which was shipped 
from the Lehigh region. 

201. Where is the coal production of the 
United States sold ? 

Almost the entire production of American 
coal is sold and consumed at home, although 
a small percentage is exported to other coun- 

Coal Catechism 

tries, principally by rail over the interna- 
tional bridges and by lake and sea to the 
Canadian provinces. 

202. What other exports of American coal 
are made by sea ? 

Other small tonnages are exported by sea 
to the West Indies, to Central and South 
America, and elsewhere. 

203. What is the total amount of these ex- 
ports annually ? 

The total amount of coal exported annually 
from the United States to other countries is 
now about 8,000,000 tons. 

204. Are there any imports of coal made 
from foreign countries to the United States ? 

A small amount of coal is added to the pro- 
duction in the United States by imports, 
principally from Australia and British Co- 
lumbia to San Francisco, from Great Britain 
to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and from 
Nova Scotia to Atlantic coast points. 

205. What is the total amount of these im- 
ports annually ? 

The total amount of foreign coal imported 

Coal Catechism 

annually to the United States is now about 
2,000,000 tons. 

206. Is there any duty or tariff' on these im- 
ported coals f 

The United States Government has had a 
tariff on imported coals since 1824, excepting 
on Anthracite coal, which has been free of 
duty since 1870, and on coal from the British 
possessions in North America, which under 
the reciprocity treaty was admitted free of 
duty during the period from June, 1854, to 
March, 1866. 

207. How has the tariff on imported coals 
varied since 1824 ? 

From 1824 to 1843 the tariff was $1.68 per 
long ton ( 2,240 pounds ). 

From 1843 to 1846 the tariff was $1.75 per 
long ton. 

From 1846 to 1857, 30 per cent, ad valorem 
was charged. 

From 1857 to 1861, 24 per cent, ad valorem 
on all foreign coals. 

During 1861 Bituminous and shale paid 
$1.00 and all others 50 cents per ton. 

Coal Catechism 

From 1862 to 1864, Bituminous and shale, 
$1.10 per ton ; all others, 60 cents per ton. 

From 1864 to 1872, Bituminous and shale, 
$1. 25 per ton ; all others, 40 cents per ton. 

From 1872 to 1894, Bituminous and shale, 
75 cents per ton ; slack or culm, 40 cents. 

From 1894 to 1897, Bituminous and shale, 
40 cents per ton ; slack or culm, 15 cents. 

208. What is the present duty on imported 

By act of Congress, approved July 24, 
1897, the duty on imported coal was fixed at 
67 cents per long ton " on all coals contain- 
ing less than 92 per cent, of fixed carbon, and 
shale" j and on coal slack or culm passed 
through a half-inch screen, 15 cents per long 
ton. ( The collection of duty was suspended 
in 1903.) 

209. How much coal is produced annually in 
the world ? 

The total production of coal in the world is 
something over 950,000,000 tons each year. 

210. Which is the greatest coal-producing 
country in the world ? 

At the head of all coal-producing countries 

Coal Catechism 

is the United States, with an annual tonnage 
of over 350,000,000 net tons. 

211. Which country ranks second in coal 
production ? 

Great Britain is the second in tonnage with 
250,000,000 tons annually. 

212. Why must the United States always 
rank as first in coal production ? 

Owing to the vast extent of American coal 
fields and the cheapness of production. New 
coal regions are constantly being developed, 
while the smaller fields of the old world, cir- 
cumscribed and long worked, are becoming 
more expensive in operation each year. 

213. Which country ranks third in coal pro- 
duction ? 

Germany is the third in tonnage of the coal- 
producing countries, having an annual out- 
put of nearly 170,000,000 tons. 

214- Which country ranks fourth in ton- 

Austria- Hungary produces nearly 43,000,- 
000 tons of coal annually, and ranks as 
fourth in tonnage. 


Coal Catechism 

215. Name the fifth in rank of the coal pro- 
ducing countries ? 

France ranks as the fifth in importance of 
the world's coal producers with 36,000,000 
tons annually. 

216. Give the names of the other coal-pro- 
ducing countries with their relative importance 
and annual tonnage ? 

Belgium ranks as sixth with over 25,000,- 
000 tons; Eussia as seventh with 17,000,000 
tons; Japan as eighth with 8,000,000 tons; 
Canada as ninth with 6,000,000 tons; India 
and New South Wales 6,000,000 tons each ; 
Spain, 3,000,000 tons ; and New Zealand, 
Sweden, Italy, Transvaal, Queensland, Vic- 
toria, Natal, Cape Colony, and Tasmania with 
tonnages ranging from 1,000,000 to 40,000 
tons annually. 

217. What percentage of the whole world's 
coal production is mined in the United States ? 

About 34 per cent, of all the world 7 s coal 
is produced in the United States. 




218. How do we classify coal ? 

In the family of the carbons, which varies 
in composition from the fattest or most highly 
volatile and Bituminous substance to the 
leanest and least combustible. 

219. How are the American coals classed ? 
American coals are divided into two 

kinds, namely, Anthracite and Bituminous. 
These are again subdivided into many vari- 

Of the two kinds, which is more rich 
in carbon ? 

Of the two kinds of mineral coal, Anthra- 
cite contains the higher percentage of car- 

221. Describe Anthracite coal ? 

Anthracite coal, the most condensed of 
mineral fuel, is hard and varies in color from 
a glistening black to dark lead-gray. It is 

Coal Catechism 

clean, ignites with difficulty, bums with a 
short bluish flame, without smoke, and has 
very little illuminating power. When burn- 
ing it throws off a penetrating sulphurous 
odor, but gives an intense, concentrated heat. 

222. Of what does Anthracite coal consist ? 
The constituents of Anthracite coal are 

carbon, water and earthy matter in acci- 
dental and varying mixtures. Anthracite is 
the condensed coke of Bituminous coal. 

223. What is the usual percentage of carbon 
contained in Anthracite coal ? 

The percentage of carbon in Pennsylvania 
Anthracite ranges from 85 per cent, to 92 
per cent. In the Anthracite of South Wales 
the carbon has been found to reach as high 
as 95 per cent. , and in a Eussian variety 94 
per cent. 

224- What is the average percentage of ash ? 
The percentage of ash in Anthracite coal 
ranges from 4 per cent, to 8 per cent. 

225. Into what two classes are the Anthracite 
coals divided ? 

According to the color of their ashes, pro- 


Coal Catechism 

duced in combustion, the Anthracites are di- 
vided into two classes, known as "red ash" 
and "white ash." 

226. What are the characteristics of Anthra- 
cite " red ash " coals ? 

The Anthracite red ash coals contain a 
considerable proportion of oxide of iron, 
which gives them a reddish color. They are 
generally more easily kindled and a more 
free-burning coal than the white ash, but from 
the liability to clinker, or from cinders, 
which melt and adhere to the walls of the 
grate or furnace, they are not so much es- 
teemed for purposes which require consider- 
able draught as the white ash variety, which 
sheds its ashes freely. For burning in open 
grates or for domestic use, with a moderate 
draft, the red ash coal is preferred. 

227. Describe the physical characteristics of 
Anthracite " white ash" coals? 

The Anthracite white ash coals are harder 

than the red ash and are more suited to carry 

the burden of ore in a blast-furnace or for 

any use requiring a strong draught for com- 


Coal Catechism 

bustion, as in large heating furnaces or under 
boilers having a forced artificial draft. 

228. How is the relative value of fuels de- 
termined ? 

The relative value of fuels is determined 
by the quantities of water evaporated by a 
certain weight of each fuel. 

229. What do these evaporative tests show ? 
Coals tested in this way show that the 

richer a coal is in fixed carbon the greater is 
its heating power. 

230. Under this test which coal would class 
higher in value ? 

Anthracites would class higher in value 
than the Bituminous coals, weight for weight, 
owing to the higher percentage of fixed car- 
bon which they contain. 

231. How much water will one pound of 
Pennsylvania Anthracite coal evaporate ? 

It has been shown by laboratory experi- 
ments that one pound of Pennsylvania An- 
thracite coal will evaporate 15.56 pounds of 


Coal Catechism 

232. How much water will one pound of Bi- 
tuminous coal evaporate ? 

A pound of the best Scotch coal by the 
same experimental tests evaporated only 7.74 
pounds of water, and of the best English Bi- 
tuminous only 9.07 pounds. 

233. Are these laboratory tests conclusive 
proofs of the relative value of the two kinds of 

They are not, as these results, it is well 
known, are not sustained in actual practice 
or commercially. 

234. What is the generally accepted theory 
of the actual relative values of fuels ? 

It has been proven that the heat value of 
fuel is proportional to the quantity of oxygen 
which enters into the combination, whatever 
may be the nature of the combustible. As 
hydrogen and the gaseous products of its 
combination with carbon consume much 
larger proportions of oxygen than the same 
weight of solid carbon, the presence of these 
increases the heating power of the fuel. 

Coal Catechism 

235. By this rule which coal would class the 
higher in value ? 

The heavy gas coals would class higher in 
value than the Anthracites, weight for weight, 
owing to the higher percentages of gaseous 
matter and volatile substances which they 

236. Is this rule sustained in actual practice ? 
It is not, owing to the difficulty of obtain- 
ing perfect combustion. 

All experiments made with the purpose of 
ascertaining the relative value of fuels should 
be made in the particular apparatus especially 
designed for the best combustion of each kind 
of fuel. When this is done it is found that 
each kind of coal is adapted for some particu- 
lar use in preference to the other, and that 
no marked superiority is peculiar to either. 

237. Describe Bituminous coal ? 
Bituminous coal, unlike Anthracite, is 

usually soft, friable, and easily crushed or 
broken into small cubas or fibrous-like pieces ; 
like Anthracite, it varies in color from a 
bright, shiny black to dull gray. It ignites 

Coal Catechism 

easily and burns with a long, reddish, flame, 
interspersed with vivid jets of bright, highly 
illuminating power, and gives an agreeable 
heat, diffused over the entire mass. 

238. Of what does Bituminous coal consist ? 
Bituminous coal consists of carbon, volatile 

matter, water and ash ; it differs from An- 
thracite in its higher percentage of volatile 
gases and its lower percentage of carbon. 

239. What is the usual percentage of volatile 
matter in Bituminous coal % 

The percentage of volatile matter in Bi- 
tuminous coal varies greatly, from 15 to 18 
per cent., as in the Cumberland, Maryland, 
and Clearfield, Pennsylvania, coals, to 35 per 
cent., and even 45 per cent., as in the West 
Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana coals. 

240. How do we distinguish the volatile mat- 
ter in coal ? 

In the combustion of Bituminous coal the 
volatile matter it contains is seen in the flame 
which it produces. 


Coal Catechism 

241. What percentage of carbon is found in 
Bituminous coal ? 

The percentage of carbon contained in Bi- 
tuminous coal varies from 50 per cent, to 80 
per cent. The higher the carbon the less will 
be the volatile matter, and, conversely, the 
higher the volatile matter, the less will be the 

242. What constitutes the energy of coal ? 
The energy of all coals is in the combined 

carbon and volatile matters which they con- 
tain. These two added together constitute 
the strength or body of all fuels, varying as 
their combustion is more or less perfect. 

243. Then a large percentage of carbon in 
coal does not indicate the most energy ? 

Not necessarily so. If such was the case, 
many of the poorer grades of Eussian coal 
would be found superior to our heavy gas 
coals in steaming properties which is not the 
case in practice. 

244. Does a large percentage of -volatile mat- 
ter in coal indicate superior strength or energy ? 

Not always. Many of our Western coals, 


Coal Catechism 

ranging the highest in heavy hydrocarbons or 
volatile combustible gases, give the poorest 
results in effective energy or steam-raising 

245. What do we learn from these examples ? 

We learn that a coal may be high or low in 
volatile matter or fixed carbon in its chemical 
analysis and give entirely different results in 
practice than such determinations would in- 

. Of what use is a chemical analysis of 
coal ? 

A chemical analysis of coal will determine 
the amount of impurities which it contains, 
such as ash, sulphur, phosphorus, or other 
harmful constituents. It also, in a great 
measure, determines for what uses the coal in 
question is best suited. For example, a coal 
high in volatile matter and carbon and low in 
ash would indicate a powerful fuel with great 
effective energy, while it might also contain 
a high percentage of sulphur, rendering it 
unfit for the manufacture of iron ; on the 
other hand, a coal may be comparatively free 

Coal Catechism 

from sulphur, high in carbon, and so low in 
the heavy volatile matter and density as to be 
entirely unsuitable for heavy steaming or for 
combustion under forced or artificial draughts. 

Into what two classes is Bituminous coal 
generally divided ? 

According to the percentages of volatile 
matter which they may contain, Bituminous 
coals are generally divided into two classes, 
known as steaming coals and gas coals. 
These are also frequently designated as Bi- 
tuminous and semi-Bituminous, and are again 
subdivided as "block coal," " cannel coal," 
"smithing coal," "coking coal," etc. 

248. Name some of the best known semi- Bi- 
tuminous steaming coals ? 

Among the semi -Bituminous coals of Penn- 
sylvania are those known as "Clearfield," 
1 i Broad Top, " " Eey uoldsville, " " Alle- 
gheny," "Meyersdale," "Mercer," and 
"Dagus"; of Maryland, the "George's 
Creek," Cumberland, and "Pocahontas" of 


Coal Catechism 

249. Where are the principal beds of gas 
coal in the United States f 

The principal beds of gas coal in the United 
States are in the country adjacent to Pitts- 
burg, Pennsylvania, and southeasterly along 
the Alleghany range in West Virginia. 

250. Which is the most important of the 
coking coals ? 

The principal bed of coking coal is also 
found in Pennsylvania, in the neighborhood 
of Connellsville, and in West Virginia. 

251. What is the principal kind of coal 
found in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois ? 

That which is classed as* Bituminous. The 
" block" coal found in a part of Indiana, 
having a peculiar fracture into cubical blocks, 
is of special value for furnaces. 

Describe " block " coal ? 
Block coal has a laminated structure and 
is composed of alternate layers of dull black 
coal and mineral charcoal. It splits readily 
into sheets, but with difficulty is broken in 
the opposite direction. It swells very little 

Coal Catechism 

in burning, does not change form, and never 
cokes or runs together. It is pure and free 
from sulphur. 

253. What original causes produced the dif- 
ference in the various coals ? 

The mixed and ever- varying deposits of 
carbon and clay of an original vegetation. 
In the Carboniferous age the coal vegetation 
was dense or otherwise, producing the differ- 
ent kinds of coal under various conditions. 




How is coal discovered ? 
The discoveries of coal are usually made by 
systematic prospecting in the rocks which are 
known to be of the coal-forming period. Ac- 
cidental discoveries of coal have been made 
by persons ignorant of geology, but the prin- 
cipal coal fields of America have been devel- 
oped by the trained prospector. 

255. What is a prospector ? 

A prospector is one who explores a country 
in search for anything, but usually for min- 
erals. A person who by education or ex- 
perience is qualified to search for coal is 
called a coal-prospector. 

256. What is the most common evidence on 
the surface of coal beneath ? 

The outcrop of coal seams which by acci- 
dent or natural causes have become exposed 
on the surface of the ground. Often, how- 

Coal Catechism 

ever, the cover of alluvial matter is so great 
as completely to conceal the underlying seams 
of coal. 

257. Of what use is this covering of nature ? 
In this alluvial covering is the soil given 

us for cultivation ; but apart from that, were 
the coal seams denuded and exposed to the 
elements, the coal would rapidly deteriorate 
and the mining operations be frequently 
stopped by heavy rains or snow. The surface 
or covering provides shelter for the mines 
and natural channels by which all surface 
water is carried to the adjacent rivers. 

258. Which is the proper term, a " coal 
vein " or " coal seam " ? 

Originally a deposit of coal in the ground 
was usually called a coal vein, but this was 
before the orderly continuity of the coal de- 
posits was known or understood. The word 
" vein" as applied to minerals occurring in 
veins which radiate from the centre, like gold 
or silver, is correct, but coal never is found in 
this manner, but always as a thin sheet, bed, 
or stratum, and enclosed in parallel strata of 

Coal Catechism 

rocks ; it should therefore be called a 

259. Are the coal seams uniformly level ? 
Not always. In fact, the case seldom occurs 

where the beds of coal do not vary from a 
slight rise or fall to a considerable angle of 
inclination j but in whatever position they 
may happen to be found, each particular 
seam of coal will be continuous, level, or 
rolling, as the case may be, but extending 
over the entire coal field and exhibiting the 
same general characteristics, excepting at 
such points where its continuity is broken by 
natural or accidental causes. 

260. How does a prospector search for coal ? 

In his search for coal the prospector ex- 
amines carefully the surface and the exposed 
edges of rock strata on the banks of streams, 
rivers, and gullies. He also considers the 
position of the rocks, their probable displace- 
ment by drift or glacial action, the positions 
of detached boulders, and the causes of their 
probable removal from more distant localities. 
He examines old wells, the river-beds at ex- 


Coal Catechism 

treme low water, all railroad and canal cut- 
tings and quarries, as well as collections of 
local geological specimens. 

261. Should any of these specimens contain 
the Carboniferous flora, what would that indi- 

The coal-prospector would know that the 
rock containing the geological fragments be- 
longed to the typical coal measures, and 
therefore he would have good prospects of 
finding coal in the neighborhood from whence 
the specimen came. 

262. What is the usual first indication of 

The first indication of coal when found 
near the surface is the " black smut" ; or, if 
search is made in ravines or beds of rivers 
and streams, the prospector looks for small 
bits of coal, like small black pebbles, contin- 
uing his search up stream until such frag- 
ments disappear, at which point the coal crop 
is close at hand. 

263. How is the coal seam located ? 
Selecting the most likely spot, a small 


Coal Catechism 

square excavation is made on the hillside, as 
if digging a well, and when the seam of coal 
is reached an open drift or ditch is dug from 
the excavation of sufficient grade to drain 
away all accumulating water. 

264. Supposing the surface to be very abrupt 
and precipitous, how would we proceed ? 

In that case the preliminary excavations 
would be made directly into the coal seam by 
a small drift or tunnel. 

265. How are the positions of the Bituminous 
coal seams usually seen on the surface? 

The positions of the various Bituminous 
coal seams are plainly indicated in the 
" benches" or terraces of the hillside, which 
usually occur at the outcrop. 

266. How are these benches formed ? 

Coal benches are caused by the process of 
erosion, which works more rapidly and easily 
on the soft coal outcroppings than upon the 
enclosing rocks, thus producing the steps, 
terraces, or benches in the hillside. 

Coal Catechism 

267. What good indication of coal can be 
found in water ? 

Where a river or stream deposits a light 
yellowish covering along the banks and over 
the stones and other objects in its course, we 
know that the water contains iron and that 
it probably originates in a bed of coal. 

268. What other means besides patient 
searching has been employed to discover coal ? 

There are a great many recorded instances 
of the discovery of coal by means of the 
virgula dimnatorum, or divining rod, which 
are more curious than instructive. It was said 
that coal was thus discovered in France in 
the latter part of the twelfth century. 

269. Can a prospector always depend on sur- 
face indications to locate a coal seam ? 

It is only under certain conditions that the 
coal seams can be located by the topograph- 
ical or surface indications. The great amount 
of drift composed of soil or alluvial covering 
often completely hides the coal outcroppings 
and the position of the coal strata from view. 

Coal Catechism 

270. When such is the case, how must we 
proceed ? 

When no surface indications can be ob- 
tained, after thorough search has been made, 
we must ascertain what is contained in the 
ground by boring or drilling holes from the 
surface. These are called " prospect holes." 

271. Where should such drillings be made? 

In selecting spots for drilling, the pros- 
pector should first locate on the surface the 
probable course of the underneath tunnel or 
entry to the best of his knowledge and judg- 
ment. On this line, at measured distances, 
which are accurately noted in a record book, 
the points are marked as suitable spots for 

272. What is the most simple form of drill- 
ing ? 

The most simple form of boring is with a 
" bit," or iron chisel, similar to that used by 
stone-masons for drilling holes in stone, and 
used in the same manner, alternately raised 
and dropped as the hole is driven deeper, 
and turned partly around with each drop, so 

Coal Catechism 

as to cut a round hole and prevent the tool 
from being wedged fast in the rock. 

273. How is the " bit " raised after each 

In drilling with the bit and rods a spring- 
pole sometimes a young growing tree bent 
over is used to lift the bit after each drop. 
The alternating motion up and down is done 
by hand power, or a stirrup is attached for 
the driller to use his feet ; hence the expres- 
sion, " kicking down" a hole. 

274- How do we proceed as the hole becomes 
deeper ? 

As the work progresses sections of iron or 
wooden rods are fastened to the chisel until 
the required depth has been reached. 

275. How is the nature of the strata through 
which the drill is progressing ascertained ? 

When some depth has been reached by the 
"bit" and rods they are withdrawn, and the 
broken bits of rock are taken from the hole 
by means of a " sludger." 

Coal Catechism 

276. What is a sludger ? 

A sludger is simply a short length of iron 
pipe fitted at the bottom end with a foot- 
valve or traps, so that the churning of the 
sludger up and down will gather up the 
pieces of rock inside the pipe, which the 
valve preventing them from falling out are 
drawn to the surface and there carefully ex- 
amined for indications of coal. For this pur- 
pose it is necessary that the hole be kept wet 
by pouring water into it as the work ad- 

277. How are the rods and bit withdrawn 
from the hole ? 

The rods and bit soon become too heavy to 
be withdrawn from the hole by hand. It is 
then necessary to withdraw them by means 
of a rope attached to a pulley and derrick. 

278. To what depth can a hole be bored by the 
bit and hand power ? 

Holes have been driven by this system to a 
depth of 900 feet, but ordinarily it is not 
advantageous to a depth of more than 50 to 
75 feet. Should the coal seam lie deeper, it 
would then be necessary to use a power drill. 

Coal Catechism 

279. What is a power drill ? 

A power drill is one worked by other than 
manual labor, as steam, electricity, or com- 
pressed air. Usually it is made like a hollow 
cylinder, and is furnished at its base or cut- 
ting end with a row of teeth like a saw, or 
with four or six bits, or generally with small 
pieces of black diamonds or carbons, in 
which case it is called a diamond drill. 

280. What advantage does the power drill 
possess over the bit and rods ? 

By this system of drilling a more perfect 
specimen of the strata is obtained, as it cuts 
a solid "core" or cylinder out of the rock, 
which can be brought to the surface by a 
spring grapnel, and can there be carefully 
examined and recorded. It has the addi- 
tional advantage of being able to drill holes 
in any direction from vertical to horizontal, 
like a common auger. 

281. Describe the " core " usually found 
ivhen drilling for coal ? 

When boring for coal the drill first passes 
through the soil or clay, and then through 

Coal Catechism 

the overlying strata of limestone, sandstone, 
etc., until when the coal measures are reached 
it penetrates the black shales, and often mi- 
nute, thin seams of coal called " riders." 

282. When the u rider J1 has been discovered , 
is the prospector sure of success ? 

Not always, as there may be nothing else 
in the property ; but usually the " rider " is 
found in close proximity to the coal seam 
itself, and the probabilities are that the drill 
will soon drop into the soft, yielding bed of 
coal, and the prospector's task will be fin- 




283. The prospector having found the coal 
j what is the first step in its development f 

The first step in developing a seam of coal 
is to ascertain the best location for an open- 
ing into it. This must be done with rare 
good judgment, as on this depends all the 
future working of the property. 

28 Jf. By whom should this work be done ? 

To the trained judgment of a competent 
mining engineer should be left the location 
of the first or initial opening of a coal seam, 
and only men of technical knowledge and 
experience should be employed for this pur- 

285. What are the different methods em- 
ployed for developing a coal seam ? 

In the United States we employ four meth- 
ods of opening a coal seam namely, the 
drift, the slope, the tunnel, and the shaft, 

Coal Catechism 

which are adopted according to the nature of 
the surface and the position of the coal seams. 

286. What is a drift mine or opening ? 

A drift opening is very simple. It consists 
of a small opening, about 6 feet high and 8 
feet wide, "drifted" or driven into the coal 
seam from the outcropping and making a 
small tunnel in the coal itself. 

287. Where should a drift opening begin ? 
The point selected for beginning a drift 

opening should be at the lowest part of the 
outcrop, so that any water met with in the 
mine will drain out of it, and also that the 
coal can be easily hauled on a down grade 
from the interior to the tipple, or loading 

288. What is the cheapest mode of opening a 
coal seam ? 

A property opened by "drifting" at the 
lowest part of the outcrop and progressing 
into a hill at a slightly ascending uniform 
grade is the cheapest and most favorable way 
in which a coal seam can be opened. 

Coal Catechism 

289. What is this mode or system called ? 
When a coal seam is opened in this way 

the coal is "taken on the rise," as it is called 
by miners. 

290. What is the reverse of this system 
called ? 

Where the grade of the drift is slightly de- 
scending as the work progresses the coal is 
said to be " worked on the dip." 

2&1. Why is the first method better ? 

In the first instance the drift is always dry 
and free from water, as it runs out of itself, 
while in the latter case the water is always 
ahead of the workings and just where it is 
the most troublesome at the "face" or end 
of the drift or tunnel. 

292. Why is the drift opening not universally 
adopted ? 

Circumstances are rare where the coal 
seams are so favorably located as to furnish 
opportunities for drift openings. They are 
not usually found in such advantageous posi- 


Coal Catechism 

293. What is a tunnel mine or opening f 

A tunnel opening is a drift through inter- 
vening rock measures to the coal beyond. 
To illustrate a tunnel opening one must sup- 
pose the coal seam, instead of lying flat and 
parallel to the horizon, to be inclined from 
the outcrop high up on a hillside and pitch- 
ing downward into and through the hill. 
The outcrop being too high, or possibly not 
exposed, a tunnel is driven into the side of 
the hill through the rock at water level until 
the coal is reached ; the coal is then mined 
and hauled out to the tipple through the 

294- What circumstance determines the de- 
sirability of using the tunnel opening ? 

The length of the tunnel required to reach 
the coal would determine the desirability of 
this mode of opening. For if the distance 
through the rock were too great the cost of 
opening would be very great also, and the 
distance necessary for hauling the coal, if 
very long, would add too much to the cost of 


Coal Catechism 

What is a dope mine or opening ? 
Where the coal seam crops out at the sur- 
face and is at an angle, the most common way 
of opening the seam is by a slope, which is 
exactly similar to a drift, the main gangway 
or entry being driven into the coal itself, but 
is not level, the drift following the dip of the 
coal downward or in a sloping direction into 
the hill ; hence the term, a slope mine or 

296. How is the coal mined in a slope open- 
ing ? 

When the principal drift has reached a 
suitable distance down and into the coal 
seam, gangways or cross headings are driven, 
at right angles with the main opening, along 
the " strike " of the seam, and the mining of 
coal begins at this point. 

297. What is the " dip " and u strike " of a 
coal seam ? 

The "dip" of a coal seam is its angle of 
inclination measured from a horizontal line. 
The " strike " is the direction of any horizon- 
tal line along or across the seam. It is al- 

Coal Catechism 

ways at right angles to the "dip." An ex- 
cellent illustration of the dip and strike of a 
coal seam can be had by folding a vsheet of note- 
paper so that one part is horizontal and the 
other hangs down. The angle which the 
hanging leaf makes with the other is the 
" dip," and the line where the two leaves are 
connected is the "strike." 

298. At what angle of inclination in the coal 
seam is it best to open it with a slope ? 

Where the dip of the coal seam inclines 
from the horizontal more than 15 or 20 de- 
grees it is best to work the seam by a slope. 

299. What is a shaft mine or opening ? 
Where the coal seam is found in a flat 

country and lying horizontally some distance 
or, as is often the case, below water level, the 
opening is made by "shafting" ; that is, 
sinking a shaft or hole from the surface to 
the coal seam below. A mine thus developed 
is called a shaft mine. 

300. What, is the advantage of a shaft mine 
over the other methods of development ? 

The advantage in opening a seam of coal 

Coal Catechism 

by a shaft is that it frequently permits the 
operator to penetrate the heart of the seam 
at once and to extend his workings in every 
direction. There is no "crop coal " to work 
through, as in the drift or slope openings. 

301. How is a shaft opening made ? 

In the United States the most common way 
is to begin by sinking a square or rectangular 
hole through the surface earth until the bed- 
rock is reached. This surface earth does not 
often exceed a depth of over 20 feet, and 
must be kept from caving in during the 
progress of the work and thereafter by stout 
timbers framed together or by a stone curb- 
ing, as in a well. When the solid rock has 
been reached, this timber or stone curbing 
sets firmly on it, and no further timbering is 
necessary until the sinking is completed and 
the coal has been reached. 

302. What is the proper size for a shaft ? 
The size of a shaft depends entirely on the 

use for which it is intended. The width is 

seldom over 12 feet ; it is regulated by the 

length of the small mine cars in use in the 


Coal Catechism 

mines ; the length by the number of com- 
partments intended to be used in its opera- 
tion ; the depth depends, of course, on the 
position of the coal seam. 

303. What is the size and number of com- 
partments used in a shaft ? 

A compartment is usually from 6 to 8 feet 
broad, so that the surface opening for a shaft 
with 2 compartments, the smallest in use, 
would measure 12 feet wide by 18 or 20 feet 
in length j a surface opening for 6 compart- 
ments, an unusually large one, would meas- 
ure 12 feet wide by 40 or 50 feet in length. 

304. Is the size of a shaft opening the same 
for its entire depth ? 

The first sinking of the shaft through the 
surface soil and earth is made from 4 to 8 feet 
longer than the size of the shaft in the rock, 
in order to give room for the timber or stone 
curbing along its sides. 

305. How is the shaft sinking done ? 

The excavating through the earth is done 
by a windlass, or the earth is shoveled on 
stages or platforms and then carted or wheeled 

Coal Catechism 

away. When the rock is reached, holes are 
drilled into it, either by hand or power drills, 
and the rock is removed by blasting with 
powder or other explosives. 

806. How is the coal worked after it has been 
opened by a shaft ? 

When the coal has been reached at the bot- 
tom of a shaft, a "sump" is excavated on 
the dip or lower side in the coal. This sump 
catches all the water, which from it is pumped 
out to the surface. After the sump has been 
excavated, working gangways are driven 
right and left into the seam, and from them 
are turned the "rooms" in which the miners 
work the coal. 

307. What is the ordinary depth of a coal 
shaft in the United States ? 

In this country a shaft is seldom sunk over 
300 or 400 feet in depth. The deepest shaft 
we have is in Pottsville, in the Anthracite 
region about 1,600 feet. 

SOS. How do these shafts compare with those 
in Europe? 

In the European coal fields much deeper 

Coal Catechism 

shafts are sunk than in the United States to 
reach coal seams not nearly so thick. It is 
not unusual to sink shafts there from 1,000 to 
3,000 feet in depth. 

309. What is the average time required to 
sink a shaft ? 

The time required to sink a shaft under 
ordinary conditions has been estimated at 
200 to 300 feet per year, including timbering. 

310. What is the cost of sinking a shaft 
through hard rock ? 

The cost of sinking a shaft through hard 
rock is placed at $5.00 to $8.00 per cubic 
yard for rectangular shafts of an average 
cross-section, and from 400 to 800 feet deep. 
The cost increases rapidly with the depth, 
and for the shafts more than 800 feet deep the 
cost per cubic yard may reach $10.00. 

311. What is the cost of sinking a shaft 
through shale and sandstone ? 

Under ordinary conditions, a shaft sunk 

through shale and soft sandstone would cost, 

on an average, from $2.00 to $5.00 per cubic 

yard for shafts from 500 to 800 feet in depth. 




812. How many men are employed in operat- 
ing the coal mines of the United States ? 

The production of coal in the United States 
at present requires about 500,000 men, who 
are employed in operating the mines. 

313. How are these divided between the An- 
thracite and the Bituminous mines? 

Of this number 150,000 are employed in 
the production of Anthracite, while the 
remaining 350,000 are scattered over the 
other coal-producing States, engaged in the 
mining of the various Bituminous fuels. 

314- Are women and children employed in 
the coal mines ? 

Such was the case in England and France 
for years; and in Scotland, within the past 
fifty years, women and children were em- 
ployed to carry coals on their backs from the 
mines to the surface. Now, women no longer 

Coal Catechism 

work in the mines in England or France, but 
are still so employed in Belgium. In the 
United States, women have never worked in 
the mines, and the employment of children 
under -ground is, in most of the coal States, 
prohibited by law. 

315. How were the earlier mines of ihe 
United States operated ? 

The early coal tonnages in the United 
States were produced by very crude and 
simple methods. When the coal outcropped 
on the hillside it was dug out with pick and 
shovel, or, if shafting was necessary, a rude 
crank and windlass was all the machinery 

316. How do we operate now ? 

To-day the "main entry" in a coal-mine 
is laid out with the precision of a main ave- 
nue in one of our cities by competent tech- 
nical experts, and from it at right angles are 
driven the "headings" like so many cross 
streets, lined on each side with the "rooms" 
or daily workshops of the miners. 

Coal Catechism 

817. How much coal can a miner produce in 
a day? 

A miner can produce from 5 to 8 tons of 
coal daily depending upon the thickness of 
the seam, the nature of the roof, the condi- 
tion of the mines, and various other circum- 
stances, such as water, gas, etc. 

318. What are the tools used by a Bituminous 
pick-miner ? 

His tools consist of several picks, a shovel, 
an auger, tamping-bar and needle, a small 
hat lamp and can of oil, and also a can of 

319. How does he mine the coal ? 

With his pick he digs away a space at the 
bottom of the seam, to accomplish which he 
must lie down on the floor of the mine while 
he works his arms, " undercutting " the coal. 
This undercut slopes gradually downward, 
until he has undermined a space clear across 
the room, as far as he can reach under the 
coal with his pick. This done, he takes his 
long crank auger, places a small piece of 

Coal Catechism 

board across his breast against which to rest 
the end of the crank, and bores a hole into 
the top of the coal at an upward angle, taking 
care not to bore deeper than the undercut. 
Next he makes a cartridge by wrapping a 
piece of paper about a round stick the size 
of a broom-handle, which he withdraws, and 
the paper shell thus made is filled with blast- 
ing-powder according to the desired size, 
usually six or seven inches in length. The 
cartridge is then stuck on the point of the 
tamping needle (which is a slender pointed 
rod of iron, five or six feet long) and forced 
into the hole with the tamping-bar, which is 
a heavy iron rod, with a head at one end 
through which a groove runs to fit the needle. 
The miner then tamps in the cartridge with 
damp coal-dust as solidly as possible. The 
needle is then withdrawn, leaving a round 
hole leading to the powder in the cartridge. 
A lighted squib is thrust into the hole, and 
the miner seeks a place of safety. The squib 
is about the size of a slate-pencil, and the 
moment it begins to burn it rushes forward 
to the powder, which it explodes, blasting 
down the coal. 


Coal Catechism 

320. How much coal will a blast dislodge ? 
A single shot will sometimes dislodge a ton 

or two of coal, while often it has no effect at 
all, and the work must be done over j this is 
called a " blind shot." 

321. What is done with the coal after blast- 
ing ? 

When the coal is knocked down, the miner 
carefully examines and shovels it into a small 
mine car, holding from one to two tons, 
which he shoves from his room to the head- 
ing j there the drivers attach the mules, 
couple the cars together in strings and haul 
them to the bottom of the shaft, or, if a drift 
working, out of the mine to the colliery or 
tipple, where the coal is dumped into the 
large railroad cars, in which it is shipped to 
the consumer. 

322. How is a miner paid for his work ? 

In this country a miner is always paid 
by the ton or wagon. He does the work by 
contract, furnishes his own tools and material, 
and, of course, must keep them in order. His 
contract is to blast down the coal, put it in 
the mine cars, and push the cars from his 

Coal Catechism 

room to the entry. All other work is paid 
for by the operator. 

323. What other work is there to do ? 

The main headings must be timbered and 
ditched, iron or steel rails must be laid for 
the mine cars, room must be made for the 
mules to walk ; and for this purpose the 
" bottom " of hard fire-clay must be taken 
up, or the "roof" of harder rock must be 
taken down, air courses must be driven, and 
rooms turned or opened and ventilation pro- 
vided. All this is called "dead work," and 
is paid for by the yard or day's work by the 

324. What other expenses are paid by the 
operator ? 

The operator must also purchase the land 
on which the seam is located, or pay a roy- 
alty per ton to the land-owner. He must pay 
all the expenses of opening the seam, and for 
all the buildings, cars, mules, and machinery 
necessary for conveying the coal from the 
main entry underground to the consumer. 
When the miner conveys the coal to the main 
entry he is done with it. 

Coal Catechism 

825. What is the most necessary thing to 
consider in working a mine ? 

Ventilation, by which is meant a proper 
supply of air from the surface to the miners 

826. Why is the air in the mines not suffi- 
cient for this purpose ? 

The air in a mine is never the same natu- 
rally as that on the surface, owing to the ad- 
mixture of certain gases which issue from 
the coal and rock as the work progresses. 

327. How is air admitted to the mines nat- 
urally ? 

In the mines a natural current of air passes 
down the slope or shaft, or into the drift mouth, 
and thence along the various entries and 
cross-cuts, as water is conveyed through 
pipes, sometimes sluggishly and then more 
rapidly, according to the energy applied in 
its transmission from the surface. In nat- 
ural ventilation this energy is nothing more 
nor less than the difference in temperature 
between the surface and the interior of the 


Coal Catechism 

328. How does this difference in temperature 
produce a movement of the air underground ? 

All gases, including the air, which is a 
mixture of gases, expand as they become 
heated, and become lighter as they grow 
warmer. If, therefore, we have a tempera- 
ture high on the surface and low underground, 
or vice versa, the tendency of the warm air 
is to rise, being lighter, and of the cold air 
to displace it, being heavier. This action on 
the surface we call "wind," but underground 
it is called an "air current." In the ex- 
tremes of summer and winter seasons we 
have a difference in temperature between the 
air in the workings and the air on the surface, 
sometimes as much as "50 or 60 degrees. 
These differences cause a lively movement of 
air through the mines. 

3%9. Is natural ventilation sufficient ? 

It might be, if there were no other influ- 
ences at work vitiating the air of mines, such 
as occluded gases. 

330. }\Hiat are occluded gases ? 

The formation of coal included the growth 
and decay of vast quantities of vegetable 

Coal Catechism 

matter, covered in course of time with de- 
posits of mud, sand and gravel. This decay 
or putrefaction, continuing under the heavy 
mass of covering, produces an enormous 
amount of gases, which, having no means of 
escape, are imprisoned in the coal-seams, 
awaiting the miner's pick and drill to set 
them free. 

331. Under what names are these gases com- 
monly known ? 

These gases are commonly known as 
"marsh-gas" and " fire-damp," and, weigh- 
ing about half as much as the atmosphere, 
are usually found in the holes and fissures of 
the mine roof; when liberated and mixed 
with a certain proportion of air they become 
dangerously explosive. 

What is carbonic oxide gas ? 
Carbonic oxide gas is the result of imper- 
fect combustion. It is often called " white- 
damp," or " after-damp," because it is al- 
ways present in the mines after an explosion 
from fire-damp. It has no color, taste, or 
smell, beyond the faint fragrance of violets. 

Coal Catechism 

333. Why is carbonic oxide gas particularly 

Unlike other gases, its proximity cannot 
be detected by the ordinary method of test- 
ing with lamps, and only one-half of one per 
cent, of this insidious gas in the atmosphere 
is sufficient to cause death a death which 
conies instantly and without warning of any 

334. Where can carbonic oxide gas be 

It can be seen burning, in combination with 
oxygen, at any time by observing the little 
blue flames dancing over a fire of red hot 

335. What is carbonic acid gas? 
Carbonic acid gas is occluded from the coal 

seam, and is also produced by the miners 7 
burning lamps and the exhalations of men 
and mules in the mines. Being heavier than 
air, it is always found in a layer along the 

336. Is carbonic acid gas dangerous ? 

It is not particularly dangerous, unless the 

Coal Catechism 

warnings of its presence are ignored and one 
should deliberately remain in it. 

337. In that case what would happen ? 

In that case one would die of suffocation, 
as a person will in drowning. For this reason 
it is called " choke-damp," because it chokes 
or suffocates its victim. 

338. How is the presence of carbonic acid 
gas detected ? 

The presence of carbonic acid gas in the 
air can be detected by the waning flame of a 
lamp. If a lighted lamp is plunged into the 
pure gas it will be instantly extinguished. 

339. What percentage of carbonic acid gas 
in the air is necessary to cause death? 

It is not known what percentage of this 
gas, mixed with the atmosphere, is necessary 
to cause death ; 10 to 15 per cent, of it can 
be present in the air we breathe without seri- 
ous inconvenience, beyond a dull headache 
or nausea ; and in experiments made with 
animals as high as 30 per cent, has been used 
without causing death. This gas is more 
frequently found in old workings. 

Coal Catechism 

340. What other gas is generally found in old 
workings ? 

Sulphureted hydrogen is another gas met 
with in old workings. 

341 ' How is its presence detected ? 

The disagreeable smell of rotten eggs is 
sufficient evidence, in the mines, of its prox- 

342. What percentage of sulphureted hydro- 
gen in the air will cause death ? 

About 3 per cent, of this gas mixed with 
the atmosphere is all that is necessary to cause 

343. How is an operator to prevent the con- 
tamination of the air in the mines ? 

An operator is powerless to prevent the in- 
trusion of gases into the mines, or in many 
cases to detect their presence. All that he 
can do is to neutralize their ill effects by 
furnishing a generous supply of pure air to 
the mines from the surface. 

344' How is this accomplished ? 
We accomplish this by means of artificial 

Coal Catechism 

ventilation, and increasing the current of air 
passing through the mines by means of a 
furnace or a fan. 

345. How is artificial ventilation produced 
with a furnace ? 

The operation is very simple. All mines 
are provided with a shaft sunk from the sur- 
face to the entries or gangways below, called 
an air shaft ; this may be either a separate 
opening or part of the main hoisting shaft 
partitioned off for that purpose. A fire is 
maintained near the bottom of the air shaft, 
and the heated column of air in the shaft, 
being lighter, rises and, the outer air tak- 
ing its place, produces the necessary ventila- 
tion through the various rooms in the mines. 

846. Give a familiar example of furnace 
ventilation ? 

A familiar example of furnace ventilation 
may be observed in any dwelling having an 
open fireplace, the chimney corresponding 
to the air-shaft, or " up- take," and an open 
door in the hall-way to the drift-mouth, or 
other mine opening. The doors of the vari- 
ous rooms represent fairly well the "trap- 

Coal Catechism 

doors " in the mines, by which the current 
of air is " stopped off" from various parts 
of the mines as desired. 

347. How is artificial ventilation produced 
with a fan ? 

By this method a current of air is forced 
down the air shaft and into the workings by 
the rapid revolutions of a machine run by an 
engine, which is constructed in many different 
patterns, but all having the same general re- 
semblance to a paddle-wheel or propeller. 
Sometimes the operation is reversed, the ma- 
chinery being so arranged as to exhaust or 
draw the air up the air shaft, and with it the 
obnoxious gases. 

3J t 8. What is the average fatality among our 
miners by gas explosions and otherwise ? 

Statistics show that for every 100,000 tons 
of coal mined in our country one poor miner 
is killed by accident. 




349. What is meant by the term l i haulage " ? 
The miner having filled his small car with 

coal from his room in the mines, and pulled 
or pushed it into the main entry, his contract 
is finished, and the operator must now take 
the car and haul it to the surface. The vari 
ous methods in use for this purpose are in- 
cluded in the general term of haulage. 

350. What is the principal thing to avoid in 
haulage ? 

The most important thing to avoid in haul- 
age is the rehandling of the coal, that is, 
from one car into another, or to a common 
receptacle or heap, and thence again into 
wagons or cars. 

351. Why is it necessary to avoid rehand- 
ling ? 

Because rehandling can be done only with 
labor, and labor is expensive. 

Coal Catechism 

352. Is this the only objection to rehandling ? 

The expense is not the only objection to re- 
handling. Coal is friable and easily broken, 
and each transfer produces slack, and de- 
teriorates the quality to such an extent that 
many of the softer coals are rendered unmar- 

353. How was haulage done in the old times ? 
In the old times the coal was carried from 

the mines to the surface on the shoulders of 
men and women. 

354- What system of haulage followed this 
in use ? 

This was followed by a system of hauling 
in which small sledges or wagons were pulled 
by boys. The chain used for hauling the 
wagon passed between the boy's legs, and was 
then hooked into an iron ring which was at- 
tached to a leather belt around his waist. In 
this manner the boys pulled the wagons along 
the gangways, using both hands and feet, 
like four-footed animals. 

355. How is haulage done now ? 
Since the introduction of horses into the 

Coal Catechism 

European mines, the heavy part of the haul- 
ing is done by them, and the manual labor is 
confined to pulling the wagons from the rooms 
to the main gangway, where they are made 
up into trains or "trips" and hauled to the 
foot of the shaft, or, in the case of drift 
mines, to the surface, by horses. This is the 
case with us to-day, excepting that we gen- 
erally employ mules instead of horses. 

356. Why are mules preferred to horses f 
In the darkness, under ground, a mule is 
more sure-footed and less liable to stumble 
over the cross-ties and uneven places than a 
horse. A mule is also less susceptible to 
sickness from hardships encountered in mine 
haulage, such as water, bad air, and constant 
drafts in the gangways. In certain places 
small mules can be used where, from his 
greater size, a horse could not enter. 

857. What notable contrivance followed the 
introduction of horses ? 

With the introduction of horses into the 
English mines came also the iron tramway, 
or railway. These were the first railways 
ever built, 


Coal Catechism 

358. How were they constructed f 

The custom was to lay two rails of timber, 
plated with iron, exactly straight and paral- 
lel, on which ran heavy wagons drawn by 
horses, or, in situations where the road was 
inclined, the loaded wagons were fitted with 
brakes, and were let down the inclines by 
gravity, the horses pulling them back when 

359. How are our mine roads constructed ? 

All. of our mines are equipped with steel 
rails of the T pattern, of a section weighing 
from 16 to 40 pounds per yard, and are laid 
to a guage of 3 or 82 feet apart on cross-tim- 
bers, called "sills." They are connected at 
the points with two iron straps, one on each 
side of the rail, and bolted through like 
splices. These straps are called i < fish- bars. ' 

360. Describe a mine car ? 

A mine car is a small four-wheeled wagon, 
made of wood, iron, or steel, to hold from 
one to two tons of coal. They are made in 
every variety of style and shape, some with 
flaring sides and others with straight sides. 

Coal Catechism 

On some mine cars the wheels revolve loosely 
on a fixed axle, as in an ordinary road 
wagon ; on others the wheels are fixed to the 
axles, which revolve in journal boxes, as in a 
steam railroad car. The usual weight of a 
mine car, when empty, is about one ton. 

361. What is the average useful effect of one 
mule in haulage ? 

The average useful effect of one mule has 
been calculated by practice at from 20 to 50 
tons hauled one mile per day. On roads of 
average grade it would probably be about 
forty tons. If the car weighs one ton and 
carries two tons of coal, the useful effect in 
tons of coal is 20 tons hauled one mile per day 
by each mule. 

362. How do the mules haul a " trip " of 
cars ? 

In hauling a i l trip ' ' of mine cars the mules 
are hitched tandem, one ahead of the other, 
three, four, or five together, the foremost 
mule, carrying a small miner's lamp attached 
to its head or hung to its collar, leading the 
others through the dark mine entries, seldom 

Coal Catechism 

making a wrong turn or misstep. The driver 
sits on the front car. 

363. Are locomotives used in the mines ? 

Sometimes small mine locomotives, weigh- 
ing from 6 to 10 tons, are used in place of 
mules ; but they can be worked only in mines 
that are free from gases and where there is 
plenty of air with quick ventilation. The 
danger from fire has always been urged 
against their use. 

364. What other modes of haulage are there 
by locomotives ? 

If a locomotive is used the objectionable 
fire-box and boiler can be replaced by a com- 
pressed air receiver, or the haulage can be 
done by electric motors similar in operation 
to the familiar " trolley car." 

365. How can haulage be done mechanically 
without locomotives ? 

There are various mechanical devices for 
hauling coal. The most common in use are 
as follows : 

1st. Self-acting planes. 

2d. Direct haulage. 


Coal Catechism 

3d. Tail-rope. 
4th. Endless chaiu. 

366. Describe a u self -acting plane " ? 
Self-acting planes are simply inclined 

roads of sufficient grade for the loaded mine 
cars attached to one end of a rope to run 
by gravity down hill and haul up the same 
number of empty cars, which are fastened to 
the other end of the same rope. At the head 
of the incline, or at the top of the hill, a 
" sheave, " pulley-wheel, or drum is fixed, 
around which the rope is wound. 

367. What is " direct haulage " * 

Direct haulage is a mechanical arrange- 
ment by which the empty wagons running 
down hill into the workings with sufficient 
energy to pull a haulage-rope in with them 
are then hauled out loaded. 

368. Describe the " tail-rope " system of 
haulage ? 

A tail-rope is used where, the hill or in- 
cline not being sufficiently steep, there is not 
enough energy in the moving empty wagons 

Coal Catechism 

to pull in the haulage-rope. In this case, a 
second or tail-rope of smaller diameter is 
used to pull the empty wagons and the at- 
tached haulage-rope into the workings. 

369. How is the " endless chain " operated ? 

As its name implies, an endless chain 
passes from the engine along one side of the 
road around a pulley at the far end and back 
again on the other side of the road. The 
empty wagons are attached to one side of the 
chain by various kinds of clips or hooks, and 
are hauled into the mine. The loaded wagons 
are attached to the other side of the chain 
and are hauled out of the mine. This system 
is also called the u endless rope," when a 
rope is used instead of a chain. 

370. Owe a familiar example of " endless 
rope " haulage ? 

A familiar example of this system could be 
seen some years ago operating the cable cars 
in our larger cities, the rope in this case 
being under the roadway instead of at the 


Coal Catechism 

371. After the coal has been hauled to the 
bottom of a shaft, how is it raised to the sur- 
face f 

Many inventions were tried before we ar- 
rived at our present perfection in hoisting 
coal from the mines by means of great wind- 
ing engines, which raise and lower the mine 
cars with certainty and precision. 

372. How was "hoisting" done in the old 
times ? 

The oldest form of lifting coal to the sur- 
face was by means of a " horse- whim." This 
method of hoisting was employed as far back 
as the Middle Ages. 

373. Describe a " horse-whim " f 

It consisted essentially of a wooden frame- 
work over the shaft, on which were fixed two 
wooden rollers or pulleys. From one of these 
rollers hung a rope, to the end of which was 
attached the loaded corfe or basket of coal ; 
the rope passed over this roller and around 
an upright drum with three or four turns and 
thence over the other roller, and was attached 
to the empty corfe or basket. When the up- 

Coal Catechism 

right drum was made to revolve, by means 
of an extended arm to which was hitched a 
horse, the empty basket was lowered and 
the loaded one was raised to the surface. 

374. What was the principal objection to 
this mode of hoisting ? 

The loaded basket or bucket, ascending, 
swung at the end of a vibrating rope, sway- 
ing back and forth in its passage up the cir- 
cular well or shaft, while the descending 
empty basket also hung loosely suspended at 
the other end of the rope, and frequently 
they came together in the middle of the shaft 
with disastrous results. 

375. How was this danger remedied ? 

To prevent this danger, the shafts were 
made square and fitted with cages having 
conductors at the sides. Upon these cages 
the loaded mine cars are wheeled and raised 
bodily, with their contents, to the surface, 
the empty car in its opposite cage descend- 
ing simultaneously and without the possi- 
bility of a collision. 


Coal Catechism 

376. Give a familiar example of a modern 
hoisting apparatus f 

An every-day example of this invention 
can be observed in its highest state of per- 
fection in the passenger " elevators" of our 
hotels and tall office buildings. The speed 
at which these hoists are run was never con- 
sidered possible by the engineers of the 
olden time. 




377. How is coal weighed at the mines ? 

In drift mining, when the coal has been 
hauled to the surface by mules or, through a 
shaft, slope, tunnel, or otherwise, by machin- 
ery to an elevated platform called a u tipple," 
the car and its contents are carefully weighed 
on a platform scales by a " weigh-boss." 

378. What is a check-weighman ? 

A check-weighman is a man chosen by the 
miners and in their employ, receiving for his 
compensation one or two cents per ton on all 
coal mined and weighed over the scales. It 
is his business to see that the miners receive 
due credit for all the coal that they send out, 
and for this purpose he assists or checks the 
weigh-boss at the scales. 

379. How does the weigh-boss know whom to 
credit with each car of coal ? 

To facilitate the matter, each miner, or 
sometimes two or three miners, will " work a 

Coal Catechism 

number," that is, a number, 1, 2, 3, 4, 
etc. is given them, and all coal sent out on 
each number is so credited in the scale-house. 

380. How is this arranged ? 

The number given to each miner is branded 
on small pieces of wood, or is stamped on 
small brass checks, like baggage checks ; 
these the miners get at the scale-house every 
morning and take them into the mines ; 
when a wagon is loaded, the miner sticks the 
numbered bit of wood into an iron staple 
placed on the side of the mine car, or hangs 
the brass check on a hook provided for the 
purpose. When the car reaches the scales, 
the weigh-boss or check-weighman removes 
the bit of wood or brass, and credits the coal 
on a tally-sheet to the number he finds upon 
it. This tally-sheet is hung up in the scale- 
house, and the numbered checks are carefully 
piled in little heaps for the inspection of the 
miners in the evening. 

381. After the coal has been weighed, what 
becomes of it ? 

After the coal has been weighed, the mine 
car is pushed to the " tipple," and its con- 

Coal Catechism 

tents tipped over into the large railroad car 
which stands on the siding underneath the 
platform. The dumping of the contents of 
the mine car is easily done by means of a 
swinging gate on the end, held in place by a 
catch ; when this catch is raised the gate 
swings open and allows the coal to fall into 
a chute, and thence into the railroad car 

382. Is this simple form of loading suited 
to all kinds of coal ? 

This method of loading is suited only for 
shipments of coal which have had no prep- 
aration, or what is called " run of mine." 

883. What coals are shipped in this way ? 

The semi -Bituminous coals of Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland and Virginia, including the 
Clearfield, Cumberland, and Flat Top, the 
Puuxsutawney, Blossburg, and Alleghany 
coals, and many others used for steaming and 

384' How is Bituminous, coal " prepared " ? 
It happens with Bituminous or gas coals 
that the customer requires a more clean and 

Coal Catechism 

lumpy coal than "run of mine," in which 
case it is necessary to have it screened. Coal 
so prepared is known in the market as 
"lump," "three-quarter," "nut," and 

385. How is lump coal prepared f 
This is done by putting into the bottom of 
the chute long iron bars, set an inch and a 
half apart, in place of the solid iron plates, 
thus making a screen 15 to 18 feet long. 
When the coal is dumped from the mine 
cars directly on these bars, the fine coal falls 
through the openings, and the lumps pass 
down over the bars into an iron platform 
suspended from the scales, where it is 
weighed and then loaded into the railroad 
car beneath ; this is called "lump " coal. 

886. What is "nut" coal? 

The coal which has dropped between the 
bars set an inch and a half apart is caught on 
a second set of irons, which are placed only 
three-quarters of an inch apart, and while the 
finer coal drops between these bars, the lumps 
pass down over them. The coal passing over 
the bars is caught and weighed, and then 

Coal Catechism 

loaded into the railroad car beneath. This 
is called "nut" coal. 

887. What is " slack " coal ? 

In the operation described in the previous 
answer for making nut coal, the fine coal 
which passes between or through the bars set 
three-quarters of an inch apart is called 
"slack" coal. 

388. What is " three-quarter " coal ? 
Three-quarter coal is simply a mixture of 

"lump" and "nut." 

389. How are the miners paid for coals thus 
prepared ? 

In fixing the rate to be paid the miners for 
this kind of coal, a price is made only on the 
coal that passes over the screens, and is 
therefore proportionately higher per ton than 
the rate paid for mining the semi-Bituminous 
coals, where run of mine is shipped entirely. 

390. How are the different sizes of coal 
loaded into railroad cars ? 

The railroad tracks underneath the tipple 
are arranged so that the railroad cars in- 
tended for the different kinds of coal can be 

Coal Catechism 

loaded by " dropping them, down" a slight 
grade, one by one, into the proper position, 
a locomotive having first pushed the required 
number of empty cars to the head of the grade 
above the tipple. 

391. How is coal loaded into river boats f 
Where river transportation is available, 

the tipples are made to facilitate the loading 
of the coal directly into the barges or boats, 
which are towed into position under the over- 
hanging chute, and are then sent down the 
river, whole fleets of them, as on the Monon- 
gahela Eiver, near Pittsburg, in Pennsyl- 
vania, towed by large, flat-bottomed steam- 

392. What preparation is necessary for An- 
thracite coal ? 

Anthracite coal, after being raised to the 
surface, is prepared for the market with more 
thoroughness than either the Bituminous or 
semi-Bituminous coals. It is necessary that 
it be broken into various sizes, and that all 
slate, dirt, fine coal, and impurities be care- 
fully removed before it is shipped. 

Coal Catechism 

393. How is this done ? 

This is done by erecting a large structure 
called a " breaker. " Through this building 
passes the coal, where it is screened over 
bars, then hand-picked, crushed between 
rollers, run through separating cylindrical 
screens and chutes for another picking, and 
sometimes is washed in running water. 

394. How is the coal made to pass through 
the breaker ? 

To accomplish this, the loaded mine cars 
are hoisted to the top of the breaker, some- 
times 150 feet high, where they are emptied, 
and the coal finds its way by gravity through 
inclined troughs and over screens to the rail- 
road car beneath. 

395. Describe the process of preparing An- 
thracite coal ? 

When a mine car comes from the mine, it 
goes directly to the dump, and the coal is 
dumped upon a set of inclined bars or into a 
chute or pocket, from which it is slowly fed 
under a gate and allowed to slide down over 
the bars. These bars are placed from three 

Coal Catechism 

to six inches apart, and separate the coal into 
two portions that are to be separately treated. 
The portion passing through the bars is con- 
veyed to a screen which separates the fine 
coal, called "pea," " buck wheat," etc. This 
screen is called a "dirt" or " mud- screen." 

The " broken" and "egg" sizes coming 
from the mud-screen are picked free from 
slate and sent direct to the pockets for ship- 
ment, or sent to the " pony-rolls" or "mon- 
key-rolls" to be broken down into "stove" 
and " nut " sizes. That portion passing over 
the main screen-bars runs out upon the 
"platform," which is a flat or slightly in- 
clined floor covered with iron plates, and is 
cleaned by the platform men. The slate and 
rock are picked out and sent down the rock 
chute, the good "lump" coal goes to the 
lump chute, and the "rough" coal to the 
"crusher rolls," to be crushed and again 
screened and separated into domestic sizes. 

896, Into what sizes is Anthracite coal pre- 
pared ? 

Anthracite coal is generally prepared as 
follows : 


Coal Catechism 

Lump . . . over bars about 7 inches apart. 

Steamboat / through bars about 7 inches apart. 
' \ over bars about 5 inches apart. 

Broken -i tlirou g n a mesn 3 inches apart. 

| over a mesh 2f inches apart. 

E f through a mesh 2f inches. 

' \ over a mesh 2 inches. 

J through a mesh 2 inches. 
' ] over a mesh 1 inches, 
f through a mesh l inches. 
\ over a mesh f inch, 
p f through a mesh f inch. 

' \ over a mesh \ inch. 


397: In what other manner is coal prepared 
for the consumer ? 

For the utilization of very small coal, 
several processes have "been invented, by 
which the fine coal, or slack, is reduced to 
powder and burned in that form, or is made 
into briquettes by pressure or otherwise. 

398. Describe the Wegener apparatus for 
burning powdered coal ? 

The Wegener apparatus is exceedingly 

simple. Coal, ground to pass through a 

sieve of 60 meshes to the linear inch, is 

tipped into a hopper at the top, whence it 


Coal Catechism 

falls upon a grating, by which it is retained. 
This grating is subject to a continual knock- 
ing action, which keeps the coal-dust falling 
through it in a cloud. The knocking is done 
by a wheel with vanes in it ; the air enters 
here under the influence of the chimney 
draught, and passing through the wheel, 
puts it in rotation. The shaft of the wheel 
is continued upward to the grating, where it 
operates the knocker 150 to 250 times a min- 
ute. The strength of the knock, and conse- 
quently the amount of coal passing, can be 
varied by means of a screw and a spring. 
The coal-dust in falling meets a rising air- 
current, and both are diverted through a side 
pipe into the furnace, the interior of which 
is lined with fire-brick for a length of 10 or 
12 feet, and has, in addition, two fire-brick 
bridges. There is no grate, and there are 
no fire-doors, the combustion being watched 
through peep-holes. The cost of preparing 
a ton of coal by grinding to powder is about 
25 cents. 

399. How is coal made into briquettes ? 
The most common way is first to dry the 

Coal Catechism 

fine coal-dirt carefully, and then mix it with 
a very small quantity of pitch ; a machine, 
by pressure, forms the pasty mixture into 
briquettes, from the size of an ordinary brick 
down to a ball the size of an egg. 




400. What is meant by water transportation 
of coal f 

As the term implies, the carrying of coal 
from one place to another by means of boats, 
arks, or other vessels floated on the surface 
of the rivers, canals, or any body of water. 

401. What was the first system of water 
transportation in use in this country ? 

The first transportation of coal by water 
was done by means of wooden arks, which 
were loaded with coal at the mines, and then 
floated down stream with the current of the 

402. What were the objections to this system 
of transportation ? 

The river-beds were shallow and full of 
rocks, so that the arks laden with coal were 
frequently wrecked, and then it was found 
that the descent of a river was as nothing 
when compared with the labor of returning 
up the stream. 

Coal Catechism 

403. How were these objections met ? 

A system by which boats could move in 
any desired direction with safety was intro- 
duced in the shape of numerous costly canals, 
which were built in different parts of our 

404. How were the rivers rendered navigable 
up-stream as well as down ? 

By the introduction of steam, which 
changed the whole condition of river traffic ; 
under its powerful impulse steamboats were 
soon plying on the Ohio and Mississippi 
Eivers, both up-stream and down. 

4Q5. About what time did this occur ? 

In 1811 the Enterprise, a keel boat made 
at Marietta, but fitted up at Pittsburg with 
an engine and a stern-wheel, under an ar- 
rangement with Eobert Fulton, left Pittsburg 
on its trial trip, and afterward ran between 
New Orleans and Natchez until 1814, when 
it was wrecked. 

408. What was the size of the Enter- 
prize ? 

The Enterprise was between 300 and 400 
tons' burden, and cost $40,000. 

Coal Catechism 

407. Who of our foremost Americans first 
advocated the building of canals ? 

Washington, we are told, took a deep in- 
terest in the construction of canals, and 
largely through his instrumentality a charter 
was obtained from the States of Virginia and 
Maryland, and also valuable grants of laud 
and money, for the purpose of building the 
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, connecting the 
waters of the Chesapeake and the Ohio Eiver. 
Of this company Washington was the first 

408. When was this canal built ? 

Work on it was commenced in 1828, and 
in 1850 it was completed for a length of 180 
miles of the line, leading from Cumberland, 
Md., to Georgetown, D. C. It is still used 
for the transportation of Cumberland coal. 

409. For what purpose was the Union Canal 
projected ? 

The Union Canal was intended to improve 
the navigation of the Schuylkill Eiver, but 
afterward was made part of a project for 
uniting the waters of the Susquehanna and 
Schuylkill Kivers. 


Coal Catechism 

410. When was it first proposed? 

The scheme was first proposed in 1760, but 
nothing was done until 30 years later, in 1790, 
when a company was formed with $400,000 
capital, under the name of Schuylkill & Sus- 
quehanna Navigation Co. 

411. W hat other canal scheme formed part 
of the Union Canal system ? 

A canal was projected at the same time 
connecting the waters of the Delaware and 
Schuylkill Eivers, so that produce coming 
down the latter from the West could be car- 
ried over and landed at the wharves of the 
merchants of Philadelphia. 

412. What was the name of this company ? 
It was called the Delaware & Schuylkill 

Canal Co., and was chartered in 1792, with a 
capital of $400,000. 

413. What famous American was at the 
head of these organizations ? 

Robert Morris, the famous financier of the 
Revolution, was made president, and was at 
the head of the organizations. 

Coal Catechism 

414' Was the company successful ? 

Unfortunately, they were overwhelmed 
with disaster, and were compelled to suspend 
operations after an outlay of $440,000, an im- 
mense sum in those days. 

415. What became of the projected canals ? 

In 1811 the Legislature passed an act to in- 
corporate the " Union Canal Company of 
Pennsylvania," which new company was a 
union of the old "Schuylkill & Susque- 
hanna" and the " Delaware & Schuylkill " 
Canal Companies. The old companies were 
dissolved and a new company formed of the 
stockholders of the old corporations, whose 
relative rights were adjusted in the new dis- 
tribution of the capital. 

416. How were funds provided to continue 
operations ? 

The mode of raising funds to continue op- 
erations on the Union Canal was furnished 
by the passage of an act in 1819 authorizing 
a lottery or series of lotteries, and giving the 
company a monopoly of the right of conduct- 
ing lotteries in Pennsylvania. The State was 

Coal Catechism 

also pledged to pay any deficiency of interest, 
up to 6 per cent., which the lotteries could 
not produce. 

417. Was this mode of financiering peculiar 
to Pennsylvania ? 

It was not. It seems to have been a fa- 
vorite resource with other States for the ac- 
complishment of similar schemes, notably in 
New York, Virginia, Connecticut, Ehode 
Island, Delaware, Maryland, and North Car- 
olina. Pennsylvania, however, at that time 
was considered the great mart for nearly all 
the lotteries of the United States. 

418. When was the Union Canal finished ? 
Work on the Union Canal was resumed in 

1821 and finished in 1827, thirty-seven years 
after the commencement of construction and 
sixty-five years after the first survey. 

419. Describe the route of the Union Canal f 
The Union Canal was nearly 80 miles long, 

from Middletown, on the Susquehanna Eiver, 
to a point on the Schuylkill Eiver, a short 
distance below Eeading, and was adapted to 
the use of boats of 25 to 30 tons' burden. 

Coal Catechism 

At Middletown it was connected with the 
Pennsylvania Canal, leading by various con- 
nections to Pittsburg and Erie, to Tioga in 
the north, and to the Bald Eagle on the West 
Branch of the Susquehanna. At Beading it 
was connected with the works of the Schuyl- 
kill Navigation Co. leading to Philadelphia. 

420. What was the cost of the Union Canal ? 
In 1828 the cost of the Union Canal was 

estimated at $1,600,000. 

421. Name some of the other famous canals 
built for coal transportation ? 

Of the other famous canals built for that 
purpose, there were the Delaware & Hudson, 
the Erie in New York, and the Delaware & 
Baritan in New Jersey. 

422. What was the cost of transporting coal 
by canal f 

In 1838 the cost of transporting Cumberland 
coal from the mines to tidewater, Georgetown, 
D. 0., by canal, was about $4.00 per ton. 

428. What was the cost of mining the coal? 
In the same year the cost of mining Cum- 
berland coal was put at $1.00 per ton. 

Coal Catechism 

424. What was the price at tidewater ? 

In those times the price obtained for Cum- 
berland coal f. o. b. in Baltimore was $6.00 
per ton, and of Allegheny coal in Philadel- 
phia, $7.00 per ton. 

J$5. At what price are these coals sold to- 

The ordinary price for these coals, trans- 
ported from the mines to tidewater by rail- 
road, would be at present $2. 75 per ton for 
Cumberland coal at Baltimore, and $2.50 for 
Clearfield coal at Philadelphia. 

426. When loas the Schuylkill Navigation 
Canal built ? 

In 1817 work was commenced on the canal 
of the Schuylkill Navigation Co., but it was 
not until 1825 that Anthracite coal began to 
form the principal part of its tonnage. 

427. How was Lehigh Anthracite coal first 
transported by canal ? 

Lehigh Anthracite coal found its way to 
market by means of the canal of the Lehigh 
Navigation Co., and the lateral channels, the 
Morris Canal and the Delaware & Earitan 


Coal Catechism 

428. How did the Lackawanna coals reach 
the market ? 

In those early days of canal navigation the 
coals of the Lackawanna region were trans- 
ported to New York, by rail 18 miles, thence 
by the Delaware & Hudson Canal, 108 miles, 
and then by river navigation 91 miles, or a 
total of 217 miles. 

429. What is the route of the Delaware & 
Hudson Canal ? 

From Honesdale, on the Lackawaxen Eiver 
in Pennsylvania, to Eondout, on the Hudson 
Eiver, New York. This line was abandoned 
in 1899. 

430. How was the coal transported on the 
Ohio and Mississippi Eiver s ? 

Until 1850 all the coal shipped westward 
from Pittsburg was floated down the Ohio 
Eiver in large flat-bottomed boats with the 
spring and fall freshets, each boat holding 
about 15,000 bushels. The boats were usu- 
ally lashed in pairs, and were sold and broken 
up when their destination was reached. In 
1850 steam tugs were introduced on the 




431. What advantage has a railroad over a 
canal for coal shipments ? 

Besides that of quicker despatch, railroads 
are advantageous in districts where canals, 
for want of water, would be impracticable. 
This advantage is often felt in mining dis- 
tricts, and sometimes by the general trade, 
where it is necessary to cross dividing ridges 
at a level too high to obtain water for canal 

432. When were the first railroads built in 
the United States for coal transportation ? 

About the year 1825 short lines of railroad 
for coal transportation were constructed in 
our country as feeders to the various canals. 
In that year the Schuylkill Canal was opened 
to Mount Carbon, then a suburb of Pottsville, 
in the Anthracite coal regions of Pennsyl- 
vania, and Abraham Potts built a railroad 
extending half a mile in length for carrying 

Coal Catechism 

coal to the canal, which previously had been 
hauled in wagons. 

433. How was this railroad constructed f 
The railroad was made of wooden rails, 

laid on wooden sills, and was operated by 
horses ; a dozen or more small cars, holding 
li tons of coal each, were usually coupled to- 
gether and drawn in trains to their desti- 

434. What are the principal railroads of the 
Anthracite regions ? 

The railroads which transport almost all 
of the Anthracite coal are the Philadelphia 
& Beading, the Lehigh Valley, the Central of 
New Jersey, the Delaware, Lackawanna & 
Western, the Delaware & Hudson, the Penn- 
sylvania, the Erie, the New York, Ontario & 
Western, the Delaware, Susquehanna & 
Schuylkill, and the New York, Susquehanna 
& Western, their relative tonnages being in 
the order given. 

435. What is the route of the Philadelphia 
& Reading Railway ? 

The Philadelphia & Eeading Bailway was 

Coal Catechism 

built as an outlet for the Anthracite coals of 
the Schuylkill region in Pennsylvania to tide- 
water on the Delaware Eiver near Philadel- 
phia. Its route is along the Schuylkill Eiver, 
from Pottsville, where branches in the coal 
field connect with the main line, to Philadel - 
phia, distant 94 miles. 

436. When was it first opened for traffic ? 
On January 1st, 1842, the first locomotive 

and train passed over the whole line between 
Pottsville and Philadelphia. 

437. How was the event celebrated ? 

The event marked an epoch in railroad 
shipments, and was celebrated with military 
display. The train consisted of 75 passenger 
coaches, containing about 2,000 persons. In 
the rear a coal train followed, consisting of 
52 cars, loaded with 180 tons of Anthracite 
coal, which had been mined the same day in 
the Pottsville region. 

438. What was the cost of building the Phil- 
adelphia & Reading Railway ? 

The entire capital invested in the railroad 
at this time was a little over $16,000,000. 

Coal Catechism 

4S9. What was considered good work for a 
locomotive in those days f 

A locomotive that could draw 200 gross 
tons about four present-day cars, on a 
level road, at a speed of from 10 to 12 miles 
an hour, was considered satisfactory. 

440. What was the capacity of coal cars in 
those days as compared with the present ? 

They were very much smaller, some hold- 
ing but five tons of coal, and were mounted 
on four wheels. The capacity of an eight- 
wheeled wooden coal car to-day is about 30 
tons. There are steel cars in service carrying 
50 tons and upward. 

441- What equipment is used by the Beading 
Railway for coal transportation ? 

In 1904 the Reading Eailway Company 
owned 940 locomotives, and about 25,000 
eight-wheeled coal cars, in addition to other 

442. What percentage of the Anthracite ton- 
nage is carried by the Heading Eailway ? 
The Philadelphia & Beading Eailway now 

Coal Catechism 

transports 20 per cent, of the total Anthra- 
cite shipments, or about 11,000,000 tons an- 

443. What was the origin of the Lehigh 
Valley Railroad ? 

In 1847 the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill 
& Susquehanna Kailroad Co. was chartered. 
The broad scope of its title came from the 
four rivers of Pennsylvania, and its route was 
intended to connect the waters of these rivers. 
It has since been merged into the Lehigh 
Valley Eailroad. 

444- What percentage of the Pennsylvania 
Anthracite is carried by it ? 

The Lehigh Valley Eailroad is credited 
with carrying 16.60 per cent, of the total An- 
thracite tonnage, or about 9,600,000 tons 

What coal car equipment is used by 
the Lehigh Valley Eailroad ? 

To carry this coal from the mines to the 
customer requires 13,600 coal cars. 

Coal Catechism 

44' What special privilege is contained in 
the charter of the Delaware, Lackawanna & 
Western Railroad Co. ? 

This company, having a charter antedating 
the present constitution of the State of Penn- 
sylvania, is one of the few railroad companies 
privileged to carry on coal mining and sell- 
ing together with transportation. 

447 '. What was the origin of this company ? 

This was originally the Ligett's Gap Eail- 
road Co., incorporated April 7, 1832 ; char- 
tered March 19, 1849 ; name changed by 
special act of Legislature, approved April 
14, 1851, to Lackawanna & Western ; consoli- 
dated April 30, 1853, with the Delaware & 
Cobb's Gap Eailroad Co. (chartered Decem- 
ber 4, 1850), and name changed to "The 
Delaware, Lackawanua & Western Rail- 
road Co." 

'448. What percentage of Anthracite tonnage 
is carried by this company f 

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 
Eailroad carries 16.30 per cent, of the An- 
thracite tonnage, amounting to about 9,600,- 
000 tons annually. 


Coal Catechism 

449. When did the Lehigh Coal & Naviga- 
tion Co. first begin business ? 

This company first began business in 1820 
by sending forward the first shipment of An- 
thracite coal ever made in the United States. 
It is one of the old pioneers in the coal de- 
velopment of this country. 

450. Of what does it consist ? 

It controls the Lehigh & Susquehanna Bail- 
road, a leased line of the Central Eailroad of 
N. J-., and the Lehigh Canal, and also owns 
coal lands in the Lehigh region. 

451. What percentage of the Anthracite 
trade is done by this system ? 

The Central Eailroad of New Jersey carries 
12.54 per cent, of the Anthracite tonnage, 
amounting to 7,200,000 tons, annually. 

452. What is the coal-car equipment of the 
Central Eailroad of New Jersey ? 

It now requires 18,500 coal cars to carry 
the tonnage of the Central Eailroad of New 
Jersey over its system in the States of New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Coal Catechism 

453. What was the origin of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad ? 

In 1850 the State of Pennsylvania owned 
about 750 miles of canals and 120 miles of 
railroads, which for various reasons were 
transferred to the Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 
at that time building a railroad from Harris- 
burg to Pittsburg. Under this transfer the 
Pennsylvania Eailroad Co. acquired the " old 
State Road," from Philadelphia to Columbia. 
It also secured the Harrisburg & Lancaster 
Railroad intersecting the old Columbia Rail- 
road at Lancaster. This gave the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad its present " mainline" from 
the Delaware River at Philadelphia, across 
the State of Pennsylvania, to the Ohio River 
at Pittsburg. 

454- What percentage of the Anthracite ton- 
nage is carried by the Pennsylvania Railroad ? 

This company carries about 4,800,000 tons 
of Anthracite coal annually, or 8. 90 per cent. 

455. Give some account of the Delaware & 
Hudson Co. ? 

This company was chartered in 1823, ten 
years before the Reading, and was the first 

Coal Catechism 

railroad in this country to use a locomotive. 
Its canal has been abandoned for five years. 
The total length of railroad belonging to this 
company is 688 miles. 

456. What percentage of Anthracite does it 
carry ? 

The Delaware & Hudson Co. carries 5,275,- 
000 tons of Anthracite annually, or 9.23 per 
cent, of the total tonnage. 

457. What was the origin of the Erie Rail- 
road ? 

The "New York & Erie Eailroad " was 
chartered in 1832, and construction com- 
menced in 1836 for a railroad of 6-feet gauge. 
It was opened to Port Jervis and Bingham- 
ton in 1848, to Elmira in 1849, to Hornells- 
ville in 1850, and to Dunkirk in 1851. In 
1861 the road was reorganized under the 
name, "Erie Eailway Co.," and in 1878 a 
third rail was laid, giving the standard 
guage (4' 8i"), from Jersey City to Buffalo, 
when the company was again reorganized as 
the "New York, Lake Erie & Western Eail- 
road." In 1895 the company was once more 
reorganized as the " Erie Kailroad Co." 

Coal Catechism 

458. What percentage of Anthracite coal is 
carried by the Erie Railroad ? 

The Erie Eailroad carries about 5,700,000 
tons of Anthracite per annum, including that 
of the Pennsylvania Coal Co. and New York, 
Susquehanna & Western Co., or a total of 
9.96 per cent. 

459. Describe the Delaware, Susquehanna & 
Schuylkill Railroad 1 

This railroad was built almost exclusively 
for the transportation of Anthracite coal. 
Its main line of track is from Drifton to 
Gowen, in Pennsylvania. 

460. What is its percentage of Anthracite 
tonnage ? 

This railroad transports about 1,500,000 
tons of Anthracite, or 2.70 per cent, of the 
whole tonnage. 

461. What is included in the New York, 
Susquehanna & Western Railroad ? 

This line extends from Jersey City to a 
point near Stroudsburg, Pa., where it con- 
nects with an affiliated line, the Wilkes-Barre 
& Eastern, extending to mines in the Wyom- 

Coal Catechism 

ing Valley. A branch extends from the 
main line to Middletown, N. Y., and the Hud- 
son Eiver Eailroad & Terminal Co., with 
which it was consolidated in 1893, extends 
from another point on the main line to coal 
shipping piers and freight sheds on the Hud- 
son Eiver at Edgewater. Total mileage about 
230. This line is now owned by the Erie 
Eailroad Co. and its coal tonnage is included 
in that company's. 

462. What percentage of Anthracite coal 
goes over this railroad ? 

About 1,500,000 tons annually, now in- 
cluded in Erie Eailroad tonnage. 

463. When was the New York, Ontario & 
Western Railway organized ? 

The New York, Ontario & Western Eail- 
way was organized in 1879 as successor to the 
New York & Oswego Midland Eailroad. It 
carries Anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania 
fields near Carbondale and Scranton to 
Oswego on Lake Ontario and via its connec- 
tion at Hancock, N. Y., to Cornwall on the 
Hudson Eiver, and to Weehawken in New 
York Harbor. 


Coal Catechism 

464. What is its percentage of the Anthra- 
cite tonnage ? 

About 2,600,000 tons, or 4.60 per cent, of 
the whole. This company has been acquired 
by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford 
Eailroad Co. 

465. What interest has the Anthracite-car- 
rying railroads in the mines ? 

Ninety-five per cent, of all the Anthracite 
coal lands in the United States is owned or 
controlled by these great transporting rail- 
roads, operating principally in the State of 
Pennsylvania. A large amount of tonnage 
carried is bought from individuals at a price 
based on a percentage of the tidewater rate 




466. Is Pennsylvania Anthracite competitive 
with foreign coals ? 

No Anthracite coal, at home or abroad, has 
been found to compare with that of the Penn- 
sylvania mines, either in quantity or quality. 
It can therefore be said to have no competi- 
tion with any other Anthracite coal, and for 
this reason no tariff is necessary to protect 
the industry. 

467. Can this be said of American Bitumi- 
nous coals ? 

On the contrary American Bituminous 
coals shipped by rail to points on the Atlan- 
tic coast-line are directly competitive with 
foreign Bituminous coals shipped by water to 
the same points. 

468. What prevents foreign Bituminous 
coals from supplanting those of American 
mines at these points ? 

The Tariff Act approved July 24, 1897, 
which imposed a duty of 67 cents per ton on 

Coal Catechism 

all coals containing less than 92 per cent, of 
fixed carbon, a qualification which includes 
all Bituminous coals. This, added to the 
fact that at present American coals, owing to 
their proximity to the surface and the greater 
thickness and continuity of the seams, can be 
mined cheaper than those of other countries, 
prevents the latter from supplanting the prod- 
uct of our mines at Atlantic coast points. 

469. What is the average price of English 
Bituminous coals at the mines ? 

In England the average price received on 
the Bituminous coal tonnage, the second to 
the largest in the world, is about $2.00 per 
ton at the mines. 

470. What is the average price of American 
Bituminous coals at the mines ? 

The average price received in America on 
the Bituminous coal tonnage, the largest in 
the world, is about $1.00 per ton at the mines. 

471. If American coals are sold at half the 
price of English coals at the mines, why is the 
tariff necessary ? 

The price given in both cases is that re- 

Coal Catechism 

ceived for the coals loaded in cars at the 
mines. In England, however, the mines are 
at or very near the seacoast, while the near- 
est American Bituminous mines to the sea- 
board are distant several hundred miles. To 
the price of American coals at the mines, 
therefore, must be added the cost of railroad 
transportation to the Atlantic seaports, in 
order to compare both prices at those points. 

472. How much should this railroad trans- 
portation cost ? 

No railroad at present can carry coal prof- 
itably for so great a distance at less than 
$1.50 per ton ; with this amount, added to 
the average price of $1.00 received for Amer- 
ican Bituminous coals at the mines, the aver- 
age price at the nearest tidewater point would 
be $2. 50 per ton. 

473. What other transportation expenses are 
added to American Bituminous coals ? 

In America railroads under one manage- 
ment do not run direct from the Bituminous 
mines to all the coast cities. Transfers must 
be made, and connections with different sys- 

Coal Catechism 

terns of railroads, or, as is most frequently 
the case, the coal must be transferred at the 
nearest tidewater point into vessels, for which 
another charge is made, to convey the coal 
by sea to points along the Atlantic coast- 
line, any one of which could be reached di- 
rectly by vessels or steamers from England or 
her colonies in Canada by the payment of 
water transportation alone. 

474- Sow much would this water transporta- 
tion cost ? 

At certain times a nominal sum only, as 
English vessels frequently come to the United 
States in ballast, and English coal could be 
used for this purpose. The water transporta- 
tion on Canadian coals to our northern sea- 
ports is also sufficiently small to permit their 
entry free of duty in competition with Amer- 
ican coals, paying both railroad and water 

475. What are the principal Bituminous- 
carrying railroads on the Atlantic seaboard ? 

The Bituminous- carry ing railroads are the 
Pennsylvania, the Baltimore & Ohio, the 

Coal Catechism 

Norfolk & Western, the Chesapeake & Ohio, 
and the Philadelphia & Reading, with their 
various connections. 

476. What proportion of tidewater Bitumi- 
nous coal is carried by the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road ? 

About 45 per cent, of the Bituminous ton- 
nage coming to the Atlantic seaboard at 
Philadelphia, Penna., South Amboy and 
Harsimus, N. J., and Baltimore, Md., are 
shipped over the lines of the Pennsylvania 

477. What is the Bituminous tidewater ton- 
nage of the Norfolk & Western Railroad ? 

This railroad transports to Norfolk an- 
nually about 11 per cent, of the tidewater 
Bituminous tonnage at Lambert's Point, 
which is on Hampton Roads at the mouth 
of the James River in Virginia. 

478. What is the Bituminous tidewater busi- 
ness of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ? 

The oldest of the Bituminous coal carriers, 
the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, now ships 
about 20 per cent, of all the seaboard tonnage 

Coal Catechism 

from Locust Point and Curtis Bay, on the 
Chesapeake, at Baltimore ; Philadelphia ; 
and St. George, Staten Island, in New York 

479. What is the tidewater tonnage of the 
Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad ? 

About 14 per cent., which reaches the At- 
lantic seaboard at Newport News, on Hamp- 
ton Eoads, Virginia. 

480. What proportion of the tidewater Bi- 
tuminous tonnage is carried by the Philadelphia 
& Reading Railway ? 

The remaining 11 per cent, of the Bitumi- 
nous seaboard tonnage is carried by the Phil- 
adelphia & Beading Eailway to Port Eich- 
mond, Philadelphia ; Port Eeading, on Staten 
Island Sound, New Jersey ; or Port Liberty, 
on New York Bay. 

481. What is the total amount of Bituminous 
coal carried to Atlantic shipping ports annually ? 

The total amount of Bituminous coal now 
handled over the various shipping piers on 
the Atlantic seaboard is estimated at about 
20,000,000 tons. 


Coal Catechism 

482. How much of the Bituminous regions 
in the United States are owned by the coal-carry- 
ing-railroads ? 

The lands in the American Bituminous fields 
are owned almost entirely by individuals, the 
transporting railroads having little interest 
in or control over them. 

483. How much Bituminous coal is there re- 
maining in these lands ? 

It is impossible to estimate the amount of 
coal unmined in the Bituminous fields of 
America j any figures given would be the 
merest guesswork. It is apparently inex- 

484' How much Anthr'acite coal is still un- 
mined ? 

It has been estimated that about 5, 000, 000, - 
000 tons of Anthracite coal still remain un- 
mined in the Pennsylvania fields. This 
amount, at the present rate of production, 
will last less than one hundred years. 

485. Are the other American Bituminous 
coals, excepting those coming to the Atlantic sea- 
board, competitive with foreign coals ? 

The Bituminous coals transported westward 

Coal Catechism 

from our interior mines by rail, and south by 
boats on the great rivers Ohio and Mississippi, 
are strictly for domestic use and in DO way 
competitive with any foreign product. Some 
imported coals are brought to our Pacific 
Coast in competition with our mines in Cali- 
fornia, Oregon and Washington. 

486. What is the capacity of a railroad coal 

Eailroad coal cars are of every style and 
pattern, from the four-wheel " jimmies," 
carrying about five tons each, to the eight- 
wheel " hopper gondola," with a capacity of 
60,000 to 100,000 pounds (30 to 50 tons) 

487. What is a four-wheel " jimmie " : ? 

A four-wheel " jimmie" is a railroad car 
made of wood. They were the first cars 
made for the transportation of Anthracite 
coal, and have now almost disappeared from 

488. What other kind of cars are used for 
coal shipments 1 

There are iron cars with four, six or eight 

Coal Catechism 

wheels, with drop or hopper bottoms, flat or 
platform cars with side-boards, such as are 
commonly used for shipments to the Lakes, 
returning laden with ore or other tonnage. 
The most common form of coal car for ship- 
ment of coal to tidewater is the hopper-bot- 
tom gondola of 100,000 pounds (50 tons) ca- 
pacity, made of steel and having eight 
wheels ; these cars are equipped with air- 
brakes and patent couplers. 

489. What is an li individual " coal car f 
An " individual" coal car is one owned or 

leased by a coal operator, and not by the 
transporting railroad company. These cars 
have painted on their sides the names, initials, 
or some chosen trade-mark or emblem of their 
owners, and are run for their exclusive ben- 
efit. They are generally used between the 
mines and the coast-wise shipping ports of 
the various railroads. 

490. How is the coal discharged from hopper 
cars into vessels at tidewater ? 

Arriving at tidewater, these cars are first 
weighed and then run out on a pier or wharf, 
and the coal is dumped, by means of the 

Coal Catechism 

drop -bottoms, into the holds of vessels wait- 
ing to receive it. The vessel, having thus re- 
ceived her cargo of coal, is cleared for the 
various cities or towns along our Atlantic 
coast or for foreign ports. 

491. How is coal discharged from flat cars 
into vessels ? 

In some cases, at lake ports, the loaded car 
is run into a large iron cylinder, into which 
it is firmly clamped. The cylinder is then 
rolled up an inclined plane causing the car to 
turn over, when the coal rolls out into a 
chute, and from thence into the vessel's 

492. W hat is a coal barge ? 

Although coal can be moved by sailing 
vessels at very low rates, they sometimes fail 
to move promptly, and the service is often 
broken by trade conditions or the whims and 
personal fancies of their individual owners 
and captains. For these and other reasons 
large operators use coal barges towed by 
steamers, called colliers, or powerful sea-go- 
ing tugs, for conveying their coal to coast- 
wise or foreign destinations. 

Coal Catechism 

493. How are coal barges constructed ? 

Coal barges are built on the lines of a ship, 
in order to make them ride and handle easily 
in a sea. They usually have three or four 
masts, with sufficient sail to make the nearest 
port should they break away from the towing 
steamer or tug. 

494- What is the capacity of a coal barge? 

Each barge carries from 1,500 to 2, 000 tons 
of coal. The towing steamer or collier can 
also carry about the same amount of coal. 
A loaded steamer usually tows one loaded 
coal barge, and a tug will tow two or three 

495. What is " bunker coal " ? 

Bunker coal is a term applied to the supply 
of coal consumed by the ocean steamers plying 
between our ports and all parts of the world. 
It is the coal put into a steamer's bunkers 
for its own consumption, or into the bunkers 
of tugs, ferry-boats, or other steam water- 

496. How much coal will an ocean steamer 
carry in her bunkers ? 

One of the larger ocean steamers will take 

Coal Catechism 

from 2,000 to 3,000 tons of Bituminous coal to 
fill her bunkers. In consuming this coal 
about 100 furnaces are used for the boilers. 
These boilers frequently have a capacity of 
30,000 horse-power. 

497. How is an ocean steamer " bunkered " 
in American ports ? 

Boats or flat barges of from 200 to 350 
tons' capacity are towed alongside the 
steamer, and then, by means of booms and 
tackle operated by a small donkey-engine, 
steel buckets are lowered to the barge, filled 
with coal, and hoisted to the port- holes. 
Through these the coal is passed to the ship's 
bunkers. Sometimes self-discharging steam 
barges are used, which convey the coal up 
an incline, and thence through chutes in the 
steamer's ports by endless carriers or con- 

498. How are steamers " bunkered " in the 
West Indies f 

In the "West Indies steamers are coaled by 
negro women, who carry on their heads 
baskets of coal containing about 100 pounds 




499. What is heat ? 

This question has never received any satis- 
factory answer, but it was most generally be- 
lieved to be a substance of itself, and identical 
with light. During the eighteenth century 
the supposed principle of heat or inflamma- 
bility was called phlogiston ; later this prin- 
ciple was called caloric. To-day heat is called 
energy, not matter, and depends upon motion. 

500. What is the usual effect produced on 
bodies by heat ? 

It causes them to expand, or to occupy 
more space. If the heat be increased, solid 
bodies will become liquid, and liquid bodies 
will become aeriform, or rise in vapor. 

501. Can all solid bodies be made fluid with 
sufficient heat ? 

That is an established principle, and has 
been proven in nearly all cases by actual 

Coal Catechism 

502. What effect is produced by diminishing 
the heat of a body f 

Bodies so treated lose in bulk, or are con- 
densed, and if the process be continued, aeri- 
form bodies become fluid, and fluid bodies 
become solid j thus, cold changes the vapor 
into dew or rain, and water into ice. 

503. Does ice occupy less space than water ? 
No ; in the act of freezing, water expands. 

This is caused by the particles of water crys- 
tallizing separately, leaving many intervals 
or hollow spaces between them. 

504. To what degree of heat may water be 
raised ? 

In an open vessel it may be raised to 212 
degrees and no higher. A continued increase 
of heat has no effect other than to convert the 
water into steam, which will be of the same 
degree of heat, 212 degrees. 

505. To what degree of heat may steam be 
raised in a close vessel ? 

In a close vessel the temperature of steam 
may be raised to any extent, and is limited 

Coal Catechism 

only by the strength of the vessel containing 

506. When, by the application of heat, a solid 
body is being reduced to liquid, will the temper- 
ature continue to rise ? 

At a certain point in the process the tem- 
perature as marked by the thermometer be- 
comes stationary, and although the heat be 
continually applied, no rise in the tempera- 
ture will be observed until the whole of the 
solid has become liquid. 

507. What is the " point of liquefaction," or 
" fusing point " ? 

The point at which a body begins to fuse 
or melt ; it is different in different sub- 

508. What is meant by " latent heat " ? 
The quantity of heat absorbed by the body 

in melting and unaccounted for, as far as the 
thermometer is concerned, is called latent 

509. Give an example of latent heat ? 

If, for example, a quantity of snow at the 

Coal Catechism 

temperature of zero, with a thermometer in 
it, be placed in a vessel on the fire, the tem- 
perature will be observed to rise to 32 de- 
grees ; the snow will then immediately begin 
to be converted into water, and the thermom- 
eter will remain stationary at 32 degrees 
until the whole of the snow is melted. But 
if the same heat be applied to a vessel con- 
taining water only, it is soon heated to a high 
degree and is made to boil. 

510. What then becomes of all the heat that 
is applied to the vessel containing snow, which 
neither increases the heat of the snow or water f 

It is all absorbed or rendered insensible in 
the conversion of the solid body into a liquid ; 
and the heat so absorbed or rendered latent 
daring the process, being that which is neces- 
sary to produce liquefaction, is hence called 
also the " heat of liquefaction," and amounts 
to no less than 140 degrees, that is, although 
snow or ice may be of the same temperature 
as water, yet the water actually contains 140 
degrees of heat more than the solid snow or 


Coal Catechism 

511. What happens after the snow is melted ? 
As soon as the whole of the snow is melted, 

the temperature of the water will begin to 
rise, and will continue to do so until it reaches 
212 degrees, when the boiling point of water 
has been attained and it becomes vapor. 

512. Then water cannot be heated beyond the 
boiling point ? 

It may be so, if the water be contained in 
a close vessel, from which the steam can have 
no escape ; but while steam is rapidly escap- 
ing, the water remains at 212 degrees, and 
the steam at 212 degrees also. 

513. What is the amount of heat absorbed ? 
The heat which is absorbed, called the 

"heat of vaporization," being that which is 
required to maintain water in the state of 
vapor or steam, amounts to no less than 1,000 
degrees of temperature, that is, although 
water may be at 212 degrees and steam may 
be at 212 degrees, yet the steam contains a 
larger amount of heat than water, such as is 
represented by 1,000 degrees on the scale of 
the thermometer. 


Coal Catechism 

514. How is the force or pressure of steam 
measured ? 

The pressure of steam is measured by the 
force it exerts on one square inch of surface. 
At 212 degrees of temperature the pressure 
of steam is equal to one atmosphere, or 15 
pounds on every square inch of surface ; at 
250 degrees the steam pressure is equal to two 
atmospheres, or 30 pounds on the square 
inch j at 275 degrees the pressure is that of 
three atmospheres, or 45 pounds on the 
square inch, and so on. This is called the 
* ' absolute steam pressure. ' ' 

515. What is the " effective steam pressure " ? 

The atmosphere exerts a pressure of 15 
pounds per square inch of surface. For ef- 
fective energy this amount must first be over- 
come. Steam, therefore, at 212 degrees 
would just balance the atmosphere and have 
no effective pressure. If, besides this, the 
steam would raise a weight of 15 pounds, 
then its absolute pressure would be 30 
pounds, and its effective pressure would be 
15 pounds. 


Coal Catechism 

516. How is the pressure of steam measured 
in stationary and locomotive engines ? 

In general, the pressure of steam in station- 
ary and locomotive engines is measured by 
its ' l effective steam pressure. ' ' The pressure 
of the atmosphere is not considered in gradu- 
ating the gauges. 

517. How is heat communicated from one 
part of a body to another ? 

If it be a solid body, it is communicated 
from one particle to that next in contact, and 
so on. 

518. How is this illustrated ? 

This may be illustrated by putting the end 
of a poker in the fire, and observing how the 
heat gradually extends from the part which 
is in the fire to the other end. 

519. How is heat communicated to fluids ? 

If it be from above, the heat is communi- 
cated slowly from one particle to another ; 
but if from below, there is a constant internal 
motion, the heated particles rising to the sur- 
face and the colder coming to the bottom, 
until the whole is raised to the boiling point. 


Coal Catechism 

520. Are all bodies good conductors of heat ? 
No j there is a great difference. Porous 

bodies having large vacuities, such as cork, 
cloth, bran, and straw, are bad conductors of 

521. What is a unit of heat ? 

A unit of heat is the quantity of heat re- 
quired to raise the temperature of one pound 
of water from 39 degrees to 40 degrees Fahren- 

522. What is the mechanical equivalent of a 
unit of heat ? 

The mechanical equivalent of a unit of heat 
is 772 foot-pounds. 

523. What is a foot-pound ? 

A foot-pound, or the unit of work, is the 
energy exerted in raising or lifting one pound 
in weight one foot high in one minute. 

What is meant by a" horse-power " ? 
A horse-power is equal to 33,000 pounds 
in weight raised or lifted one foot high in 
one minute. 


Coal Catechism 

525. What working energy is contained in 
one pound of coal ? 

A pound of coal contains 14,500 units of 
heat. The working energy is equal, there- 
fore, to the product of 14,500 units of heat 
multiplied by 772 foot-pounds, or 11,194,000 
pounds in weight raised one foot high in one 
minute. This amount of work cannot, how- 
ever, be obtained in practice. 

526. What is fire? 

According to old writers, fire is one of the 
four primary conditions of matter, or an ele- 
mentary substance which has the property 
of devouring other bodies, the other three 
elements being air, earth and water. In the 
ordinary sense, fire is understood to mean 
matter in a state of combustion. 

527. What is combustion ? 

By combustion is meant the phenomenon 
called burning. In coal it is a union of 
the elements constituting the fuel with the 
oxygen of the air. 


Coal Catechism 

528. How is it produced f 

By the application of heat, originating in 
the following general divisions : 
1st. The sun. 
2d. Lightning, electricity. 
3d. Chemical combinations. 
4th. Friction or collision. 

529. How is energy produced by combustion ? 

When coal is heated to the point of igni- 
tion, the oxygen of the air unites with the 
carbon and hydrogen in the coal, and the re- 
sult is combustion. It is nothing more than 
a chemical change, producing energy in the 
form of heat ; a piece of iron slowly rusting 
is undergoing a similar change. 

530. What are the ordinary combustibles 
used in producing heat f 

Ordinary combustibles include coal, wood, 
charcoal, natural gas, oil, coke and turf. 

531. How do these rate in efficiency ? 

Wood is the least efficient of the combus- 
tibles, on account of the great amount of 
water it contains that must be converted into 
steam, while coal is the most efficient. Dry 


Coal Catechism 

wood, when burned, evolves, on an average, 
3,600 heat units, and Bituminous coal an av- 
erage of 7,500 heat units. 

532. What is the cause of spontaneous com- 
bustion of coal ? 

The cause has never been fully understood. 
In general it may be said to be caused by : 

1st. The continuous application of a mod- 
erate heat to a large, closely-packed coal pile, 
such as the heat caused by the proximity of 
steam pipes or hot-air flues, or the heat of 
the sun in summer. Coal in small quantities 
and in a cool place never ignites sponta- 

2d. The decomposition of iron pyrites 
contained in the coal and its oxidation when 
exposed to the action of oxygen and moisture. 

3d. The absorption by the coal of the ox- 
ygen in the air, after it has been mined and 
broken into fragments above ground. The 
absorption of the oxygen raises the tempera- 
ture of the coal, perhaps not sufficiently high 
to cause combustion, but the oxygen becom- 
ing chemically active in the centre of a 

Coal Catechism 

coal pile, a sufficient amount of air may be 
supplied to cause spontaneous combustion. 

583. Are low grade or poor coals more likely 
to ignite spontaneously than the high-grade 
coals ? 

It has not been so proved from the various 
instances of spontaneous combustion investi- 
gated. From them it appears that by far the 
greater number happened in coals free from 
iron pyrites and comparatively free from 
slate, and known as thoroughly high-grade 




584. What is steam ? 

Steam is water changed by heat into a gas. 
If we heat water to a temperature of 212 de- 
grees, we produce steam, which escapes in 
the bubbles of the process called "boiling." 

535. Is steam visible ? 

It is not. The cloud which can be seen es- 
caping from an engine or locomotive consists 
of small particles of water or vapor, and is 
the result of condensation of the steam in 
contact with the colder atmosphere. 

536. How is power produced by steam ? 
By expansion. 

537. What is meant by steam expansion? 
In all gases a repulsion is exerted between 

the particles, so that any gas, however small 
in quantity, will always fill the vessel in 
which it is held. Steam possesses this same 
property, and if placed in any vessel, the 

Coal Catechism 

particles in endeavoring to separate from each 
other will exert a force on all its sides. This 
force is called steam pressure. 

538. How is this pressure utilized ? 

In mechanical contrivances called steam 
engines, where the steam is admitted to an 
enclosed cylinder, and by its expansive force 
is made to move a piston back and forth, and 
with it the connected machinery. 

539. How much water will a pound of coal 
evaporate in ordinary practice ? 

The quantity of water which is converted 
into steam by a pound of coal varies with 
the quality of the coal and the construction 
and condition of the boiler. It will average 
from six to eight pounds of water for each 
pound of coal. 

540. In an ordinary locomotive, how much 
coal is burned per hour ? 

For a small -sized locomotive, say of 30 
tons' weight, it is necessary to burn from 500 
to 2,000 pounds of coal per hour to generate 
the required amount of steam and to evap- 
orate from 6,000 to 12,000 pounds of water. 

Coal Catechism 

541. How far will a ton of coal run a loco- 
motive ? 

Circumstances will make a great variation 
in this calculation, but a rough average run 
by an ordinary locomotive would be from 35 
to 50 miles with one ton of good Bituminous 

54%* Which is the best coal for steaming ? 

Circumstances again will cause a wide va- 
riation in the steaming power of coals. For 
small boilers where the fire-box is small and 
the draft poor or natural, a white-ash coal, 
high in carbon and low in volatile gases, 
will give the best results. For larger boilers 
with plenty of grate-surface and a draft good 
or artificial, a coal lower in carbon and higher 
in volatile matter can be used with more 
economy, as the combustion will not be so 
rapid, owing to the greater "body" in the 

543. What is meant by the " body" of coal ? 

Body is the term generally used to indicate 
the fatty, inflammable property in coals, 
which is the basis of the phenomenon called 


Coal Catechism 

combustion. A coal having no body is said 
to be " dry " or " flashy, " owing to its rapid 

544- What is the difference between Bitumi- 
nous and semi- Bituminous coals ? 

When a coal contains as much as 18 per 
cent, of volatile matter, it is called semi -Bi- 
tuminous, and when the volatile matter is as 
high as 30 per cent, or over, it is called Bi- 
tuminous, although there is no bitumen in 
the composition of either. The oily matter 
which sometimes exudes from burning coal 
closely resembles that substance, but it is not 

545. What is bitumen f 

Bitumen is a mineral pitch in various de- 
grees of density from naptha to asphalt. 

546. What is the " mother " of coal ? 

In examining a piece of bright coal it some- 
times occurs that the fragment contains thin 
layers of a dull black substance, which the 
observer almost invariably pronounces slate. 
More frequently this substance is the 
" mother" of coal, is often as highly com- 

Coal Catechism 

bustible as charcoal, and its presence gener- 
ally indicates a high-grade coal. 

547. How can the il mother " be distinguished 
from slate ? 

It can generally be distinguished from slate 
by scraping with the point of a knife. Slate 
is hard and gritty j the "mother " is soft and 

548. Theoretically, which kind of coal would 
be the most powerful " steamer " ? 

Theoretically, Anthracite would be as 
much better than the Bituminous coal as it 
exceeds that fuel in fixed carbon. But this is 
not the case. Either from the difficulty of 
combustion or the inefficiency of the mechan- 
ical appliances at present in use for generating 
steam, the excess of carbon in Anthracite is 
not utilized, and, generally speaking, a ton 
of Bituminous coal will generate as much, if 
not more, steam as an equal ton of Anthra- 

549. When was coal first used for locomotive 
fuel in the United States ? 

Some years ago wood was the fuel in gen 

Coal Catechism 

eral use for locomotives in the United States. 
In 1849 only a small proportion of the loco- 
motives on the Beading Railway were burn- 
ing Anthracite coal. On the -Baltimore & 
Ohio Eailroad Anthracite coal had been used 
on the very earliest of their locomotives, but 
these had vertical boilers, and when attempts 
were made to use Anthracite on locomotives 
with horizontal boilers, various obstacles had 
to be met and overcome. 

550. What objections were raised to coal as 
locomotive fuel ? 

It was claimed by experts that a coal fire 
produced destructive effects upon the inside 
sheets of the fire-box, blistering and burning 
them away. It was also said to occasion the 
melting of the grate-bars and the destruction 
of the boiler-tubes, together with the accumu- 
lation and igniting of fine coal in the smoke- 

551. How much coal is now burned annually 
by locomotives in the United States ? 

The locomotive or " supply " coal now 
used annually in the United States amounts 
to over 100,000,000 tons, and is the largest 

Coal Catechism 

single item of expense in the operation of our 

552. What is the cost of locomotive coal ? 
The cost of coal consumed by a locomotive 

has been estimated to average about two 
cents per mile of run. 

553. Which is the best fuel for locomotives? 
On this subject there is much diversity of 

opinion. There is no doubt that Bituminous 
is the most economical, owing to its extremely 
low cost and its more easy and perfect com- 
bustion. A Bituminous coal fire is easily 
managed by a fireman, and if the better 
grades are used there is very little waste 
from ashes or clinkers. An Anthracite fire 
requires much care, burns with a fierce heat, 
and generates more ashes and clinkers. Its 
cost is from 20 to 30 per cent, higher suf- 
ficient to class it as a luxury suitable only 
for passenger trains, where the smoke from 
the Bituminous coal might be an objection- 
able feature. No such objection exists for 
freight locomotives, and the use of Bitumi- 
nous coal for this purpose is almost universal. 

Coal Catechism 

554- Which is the best fuel for steamships ? 

Bituminous coal is considered the best, 
being used almost exclusively on all ocean 
steamers plying between our ports and all 
parts of the world. 

555. Is the consumption of Anthracite coal 
greater than that of Bituminous coal in the 
United States ? 

In no State of the Union is the consump- 
tion of Anthracite coal greater than that of 
Bituminous. In some five or six of them the 
consumption of both coals is nearly equal. 
In every other State the consumption of Bi- 
tuminous coal is far greater than that of An- 

556. What is the proper method of firing a 
boiler with coal ? 

If Anthracite coal is used, it should be 
spread evenly over the entire grate in a thin 
layer, of sufficient thickness, however, to 
prevent the strong blast from lifting the coal 
off the grates. If Bituminous is used, this 
system can also be applied for the poorer 
grades, but if a good non-clinkering coal is 

Coal Catechism 

supplied it is better first to wet the coal 
slightly and then bank it in the back part of 
the furnace, partially filling the doorway and 
sloping down toward the front of the grate, 
where the layer of coal is thin and in an 
active state of incandescence. This bank of 
coal is then pushed forward over the burning 
coals and a new charge is banked at the door 
as before. 

557. What thickness of coal should be in the 
layer ? 

The mass of coal in combustion should 
never exceed eight inches in thickness, and 
in most cases six inches will be sufficient. 
Any excess over this amount is waste. 

558. What is * ' smokeless " Bituminous coal ? 
There is no such fuel known. All coals in 

combustion produce more or less smoke, but 
the quantity thrown off burning coals can in 
a measure be regulated by the supply of air 
admitted to the fire. A free admission of air 
over the fire will produce active combustion 
of the smoke and gases in all Bituminous 
coals, and in many cases renders them prac- 

Coal Catechism 

tically, but not entirely, smokeless. The pre- 
vention of smoke is the result of good firing, 
and experience will determine the amount of 
air which can advantageously be admitted 
above the fire surface. 




559. When was coal first used for smelting 
iron in furnaces ? 

Probably about 1740, in the Colebrook- 
dale Works, in Shropshire, England, where 
iron was smelted with charred pit-coal or 

560. What cause first led to the use of coal 
for smelting iron ? 

Coal was first used for metallurgical pur- 
poses not of choice, but of necessity. The 
time had arrived in the British iron trade 
when the enormous amount of wood required 
for the iron furnaces was not procurable. 
Not only had the grown timber been gener- 
ally wasted, but there had been an unthrifty 
neglect in not planting young trees, so that 
there was a great scarcity of wood, not 
only for industrial purposes, but also for do- 
mestic use. 

Coal Catechism 

661. Which coal was first used in the United 
States for smelting iron ? 

A few attempts were made to use coke 
made from Bituminous coals, but Anthracite 
was the first to be used largely in American 
blast furnaces, and for many years after its 
adaptability to the smelting of iron ore was 
established it was in greater demand for this 
purpose than Bituminous coal, coked or un- 

562. Is this the case at present ? 

No. In recent years the relative popular- 
ity of Anthracite and Bituminous coals for 
blast-furnace use has been exactly reversed. 

563. What difficulties prevented the immedi- 
ate introduction of Anthracite into the Ameri- 
can furnaces ? 

The natural difficulties in the way of the 
successful introduction of Anthracite coal into 
our blast furnaces were increased by the fact 
that up to that time, when we began our ex- 
periments in its use, no other country had 
succeeded in using it as a furnace fuel. 

Coal Catechism 

564- Had any other attempts been made ? 

Extensive experiments in smelting with 
Anthracite coal were made in 1828, at Vizille, 
on the borders of France and Switzerland. 
Here the attempt was made to use Anthracite 
coal in a blast furnace, either alone or in 
connection with other fuel. 

565. With what results ? 

It was found that as long as the proportion 
of Anthracite did not exceed one-fifth of the 
whole fuel, the furnaces continued to work 
as usual and the iron remained gray j but 
beyond this limit the pig became white, the 
furnace chilled and was in danger of chok- 
ing. The experiments were abandoned in 
despair of rendering by this means the man- 
ufacture of iron profitable, and the outlay of 
one or two hundred thousand francs was 
charged to profit and loss account. 

566. What caused these failures 1 
Principally the inferior quality of Anthra- 
cite coal used, and also the fact that the hot 
blast for furnaces was not then known. 


Coal Catechism 

567. What is a " hot blast * 

The hot blast is one of the important im- 
provements of modern iron-making, by 
which a great economy of fuel is effected. A 
great variety of ovens for heating the furnace 
blast have been invented, but their essential 
principle is the same. It consists in passing 
the air through tubes or passages of iron or 
fire-clay that are heated by a flame or hot air 
surrounding them. The heat is usually ob- 
tained by utilizing the waste inflammable 
gases that formerly blazed away from the top 
of the blast furnace. 

568. How do we obtain ordinary malleable 
iron from pig-iron ? 

In order to obtain ordinary malleable iron 
from pig-iron, we remove the bulk of the im- 
purities contained in the pig by a process 
known as " puddling,' 7 and hammering or 

569. How did the old iron masters accomplish 
this ? 

The old iron masters simply melted the 
crude iron in a refining furnace or "finery," 


Coal Catechism 

and then subjected it to the action of a blast, 
which sufficiently oxidized the silicon and 

570. What is silicon? 

Silicon is a non-metallic chemical element 
and is the base of silex, or silica, which is 
one of the principal earths. The principal 
kinds of stone of which silex is the chief 
component part are quartz, sandstone or 
freestone, sand flint, rock crystal, granite, 
agate and many precious stones. It is used 
for forming mortar, porcelain, and is melted 
to form glass. 

571. Relate some of the earlier attempts to 
use Anthracite for smelting iron in the United 
States ? 

One of the earliest attempts to use Anthra- 
cite for smelting iron was made at Mauch 
Chunk, Pa., in 1819, by the Lehigh Coal & 
Navigation Co. , but was abandoned. In 1825 
the smelting of iron by either Anthracite or 
Bituminous coal or coke was practically un- 
known in the United States. In three years, 
from 1838 to 1841, 11 Anthracite furnaces 
were built in this country. 

Coal Catechism 

572. Where were they located ? 

The 11 Anthracite furnaces were located at 
Mauch Chunk, Phoenix ville, Catasauqua, 
Danville, and Shamokin, in Pennsylvania, 
and at Stanhope, in New Jersey. 

573. What was the capacity of these 
furnaces ? 

The total annual production of pig-iron 
from the 11 Anthracite furnaces in operation 
at that time could not have exceeded 20,000 

574- How many Anthracite furnaces are 
now in the United States ? 

There are but few furnaces using Anthra- 
cite, even in connection with coke. 

575. What is their capacity ? 

The total annual production of pig-iron 
from the Anthracite and the Anthracite-and- 
coke furnaces now in operation is about 
1,000,000 tons. 

576. Relate some of the earlier attempts to 
use Bituminous coal in American furnaces ? 

The first Bituminous furnace built in the 

Coal Catechism 

United States was at Bear Creek, in Arm- 
strong County, Pa. This was in 1819. It 
was not successful. After two or three tons 
of coke iron had been made, the furnace 
chilled. It was then put in operation with 
charcoal. In 1835 a good quality of iron 
was made in the Mary Ann furnace, in Hunt- 
ingdon County, Pa., with coke made from 
Broad Top coal. This was probably the first 
successful effort made in this country to use 
Bituminous coal in blast furnaces. 

During the years 1835-36 blast furnaces 
were erected at Karthaus and Farrandsville, 
on the west branch of the Susquehanna 
River, in Pennsylvania, for the manufacture 
of iron by coke, but both were unsuccessful. 
In 1839 a coke furnace was in operation at 
Lonacouing, in Maryland, making 10 tons of 
pig-iron daily, and burning the coke from 50 
tons of coal. Near Frostburg, in Maryland, 
were two large furnaces on the Welsh plan 
for using coke or Bituminous coal. 

577. What encouragement was offered Amer- 
ican iron workers ? 

In 1835 the Franklin Institute, of Phila- 

Coal Catechism 

delphia, offered a gold medal to the person 
who manufactured in the United States the 
greatest quantity of iron from the ore during 
that year, using no other fuel than Bitumi- 
nous coal or coke, the quantity to be not less 
than 20 tons. In 1836 the Pennsylvania 
Legislature passed an act for the encourage- 
ment of the manufacture of iron by mineral 

578. Did these efforts exert an appreciable 
influence on the manufacture of iron ? 

Scarcely any. Many experiments were 
made with coke and Bituminous coal for blast- 
furnace use, but they were generally attended 
with loss. In 1849 there was not one coke 
furnace in blast in the United States. 

579. When did the results indicate the suc- 
cessful use of coke in American furnaces ? 

In 1856 there were 21 blast furnaces in 
Pennsylvania and 3 in Maryland, which were 
using coke, or were adapted to its use, and 
their total production in that year was over 
44,000 tons of pig-iron. After 1856 the use 
of this fuel in the blast furnaces increased in 
Pennsylvania and was extended to other 

Coal Catechism 

States, but it was not until after 1865 that its 
use for this purpose increased rapidly, 
amounting during that year to 100, 000 tons, 
in 1880 to over 2,000,000 tons, and in 1890 
to over 10,000,000 tons. 

580. How many Bituminous and coke fur- 
naces are now in the United States ? 

A recent table showed 247 blast furnaces 
in this country using Bituminous coal and 

581. Where were they located $ 

Of the Bituminous and coke furnaces in 
the United States, 78 were in Pennsylvania, 
47 in Ohio, 37 in Alabama, 23 in Virginia, 
17 in Illinois, 12 in Tennessee, 6 in Kentucky, 
5 in Maryland, 4 each in West Virginia and 
Wisconsin, 3 each in New York, Missouri, 
and Colorado, 2 each in North Carolina and 
Georgia, and one in Minnesota. 

582. What is their combined capacity ? 
The total annual production of pig-iron 

from the Bituminous furnaces now in opera- 
tion is over 18,000,000 tons. 




688. What is gas ? 

Gas is a term we apply to all aeriform, in- 
visible, elastic fluids. The air we breathe is 
composed of two gases, oxygen and nitrogen. 
The term is generally used to describe a mix- 
ture of particular gases for illuminating pur- 

584- How is gas produced ? 

Gas is sometimes produced naturally, as 
those gases issuing from decayed vegetable 
or animal matter, or those issuing from vol- 
canoes and the atmosphere ; others are pro- 
duced by chemical manipulation, as in the 
process called destructive distillation. 

585. What is destructive distillation ? 

Destructive distillation is the process of 
heating an organic compound in a closed 
vessel, without access of air, and collecting 
the products. 

Coal Catechism 

586. What substances will produce illumi- 
nating gas by the process of destructive distilla- 
tion 1 

By distilling fats, oils, wood, peats, bones, 
resins, wax, tallow, or any animal or vege- 
table substance, gas is expelled and the origi- 
nal nature of the material is destroyed. By 
submitting coal to this process, gas, such as 
used for lighting, is produced. 

587. Why is coal almost universally em- 
ployed for this purpose ? 

Coal is almost universally employed for 
this purpose on account of its price, the fa- 
cility with which it is distilled, and the quan- 
tity and quality of the coke derived therefrom 
after the gas is expelled. Formerly the pro- 
duction of gas from resins, fats, and oils was 
common, but, on account of the greater cost 
of the gas produced as compared with that 
obtained from coal, such processes have been 

588. Give a simple demonstration of the 
manufacture of coal gas ? 

If we put some powdered coal into the bowl 

Coal Catechism 

of a common clay tobacco-pipe, plaster over 
the opening with moistened clay, and then 
insert the bowl in a fire, allowing the stem to 
project from between the grate-bars, we will 
have commenced the process of destructive 
distillation. In a few minutes a stream of gas 
will issue from the stem. On applying a 
light it will burn with a bright flame, and we 
have made coal gas on a small scale. 

589. How is it made on a large scale t 

In a gas-works the tobacco-pipe bowl is re- 
placed by large cast-iron or earthen vessels, 
called retorts ; these are embedded in ovens, 
and exposed to the action of a furnace, and 
so kept continually red-hot; they are par- 
tially filled with coal and hermetically closed, 
when the heat decomposes the coal and ex- 
pels the gas, which passes from the retorts 
through several vessels for condensing the 
vapors in combination and extracting im- 
purities. When the gas is purified it passes 
to the gasometer, ready for distribution. 

590. By this process how much gas can be 
obtained from a ton of gas coal ? 

In this way a ton of good gas coal will yielc} 

Coal Catechism 

about 10,000 cubic feet of illuminating gas ; 
but a vast improvement on this process is 
obtained by taking the coal used in the first 
operation, which has now become coke, heat- 
ing it to incandescence, and forcing steam 
through the mass. 

591. How much gas would thus be pro- 
duced ? 

By this means about 30,000 more feet of 
gas are obtained from the ton of coal, not in- 
cluding such coal as is used for the fires pro- 
ducing the heat. 

592. What is this gas called ? 

The gas produced by this process, in which 
steam is used, is called water gas, since it is 
the decomposition of the water that releases 
the hydrogen forming the gas. Carbon, when 
highly heated, has so much affinity for oxy- 
gen that it will decompose steam in order to 
combine with the oxygen that forms a part of 
the steam. This is the principle that makes 
water gas possible. Either Anthracite coal 
or coke may be used to secure the necessary 


Coal Catechism 

593. How is the brilliancy of this gas in- 
creased ? 

A vapor made from crude oil is commonly 
added iu small quantities to give greater il- 
luminating power to water gas. 

594- What is gas coal ? 

All Bituminous coal will produce gas, but, 
generally speaking, the gas coals of the 
United States are those containing from 30 
to 40 per cent, of volatile matters, that is, 
hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. The excess 
of hydrogen in these coals renders them par- 
ticularly suitable for the production of car- 
buretted hydrogen, or, as it is commonly 
called, "gas." Hence the term now com- 
monly used, "gas coals." 

595. Who first used coal for destructive dis> 
tillation ? 

Coal was first submitted to destructive dis- 
tillation by a German named Johann Joachin 
Becher, in the year 1680. He secured a 
i i patent for a new way of making pitch and 
tarre out of pit-coale never before found or 
used by any other." 


Coal Catechism 

596. When was illuminating gas first ob- 
tained from coal ? 

Gas was first obtained from coal by Dr. 
Hales in 1726, who, filling a bladder with it, 
and puncturing a small hole therein, lighted 
the issuing gas. This, however, was merely 
a scientific experiment. 

597. When was coal gas first used for light- 
ing purposes? 

The discoverer of the practical application 
of coal gas for lighting purposes was Mur- 
dock, a Scotchman, who in 1792 first lighted 
his house and offices with it. 

598. When was the first -gas company char- 
tered ? 

The first gas company in the world for the 
production of gas as an article of commerce 
was chartered in London in 1813, under the 
title of " The Gaslight & Coke Co.", 

599. Was the introduction of coal gas at- 
tended with any difficulties ? 

The opposition against the introduction of 
coal gas was violent in the extreme. Great 
men, authors, and scientists spoke and wrote 

Coal Catechism 

against it. Such men as Napoleon, Sir Wal- 
ter Scott, and Sir Humphry Davy thought 
the scheme of lighting dwellings with gas a 
reckless and foolish one, and it took great 
perseverance and courage to overcome the 
existing prejudice against its use. The pub- 
lic, however, soon became reconciled to it, 
and in 1814 London was first lighted with gas 
made from coal. 

600. Was water gas knoivn in those days ? 

Not commercially, but a gas of similar 
properties was obtained by causing steam to 
pass through a tube filled with red-hot char- 

601. When was the first attempt made to in- 
troduce gas into the United States f 

The first attempt to introduce gas into this 
country was made at Baltimore in 1816. The 
company first organized, which is the oldest 
in this country, constructed works for the 
manufacture of tar gas, but was unsuccessful, 
and it was not until about 1821 that gas was 
successfully introduced in Baltimore. 

Coal Catechism 

602. What other attempts were made ? 

Boston next introduced it in 1822, and con- 
tinues to work under its first charter. New 
York followed, commencing operations in 
1823, but did not get into successful operation 
until 1827. Philadelphia introduced coal gas 
in 1835. 

608. What gas coals were used at this time in 
the United States? 

Up to 1842 the Virginia coals, mined in 
the neighborhood of Eichmond, and im- 
ported English coals were the principal gas 
coals used in this country, and until 1850 
constituted the chief supply to the gas-works 
of Philadelphia and other American cities. 
About six years later the gas coals of west- 
ern Pennsylvania began to be used in Phila- 
delphia, to the practical exclusion of both 
the foreign and the Virginia coals. 

604' Where are the principal beds of gas 
coal in the United States ? 

The principal beds of gas coal in the 
United States are in the country adjacent to 
Pittsburg, Pa., and southeasterly across the 
line in West Virginia. 

Coal Catechism 

605. When were these coals first used for 
gas- making ? 

The Pittsburg gas coals were first brought 
to market over the lines of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad about 1856. These were followed 
later by the shipments of Youghiogheny gas 
coals and West Virginia gas coals eastward 
over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to tide- 
water, and thence by vessels to the various 
coast cities. 

606. Did these first attempts at gas-making 
with American coals meet with any opposition ? 

The prejudice then existing against these 
coals was so formidable that it seemed im- 
possible to overcome. The famous Newcastle 
coals of England and the Pictou Provincial 
coals were considered by gas experts to be 
the only coals suitable for gas-making, and it 
was only after repeated trials and experi- 
ments that the American product was recog- 
nized as equal in every way to the best Eng- 
lish coals, and superior to the Provincial. 
To-day the Pennsylvania and West Virginia 
gas coals are the standards of excellence as 
gas producers of the world. 

Coal Catechism 

607. What is cannel coal ? 

Cannel coal is supposed to be the product 
of vegetable matter, as other coals, but 
of fine particles of vegetation mixed with 
carbon and deposited in small lakes or la- 
goons. It generally occurs in " pockets," 
and yields a very high percentage of volatile 
matter, and also ash. It is frequently used 
in gas-making as an enricher. 

608. In the distillation of gas coal, what 
component parts are collected ? 

The so-called Bituminous part is melted out 
in the form of tar. There is disengaged at 
the same time a large quantity of aqueous 
fluid, contaminated with apportion of oil and 
various ammoniacal salts. A large quantity 
of carburetted hydrogen and other inflamma- 
ble gases make their appearance, and the fixed 
base of the coal remains behind in the retorts 
in the form of a carbonaceous substance 
called coke. 

609. How much coke remains from a ton of 
distilled gas coal f 

The amount varies with different coals, 
ranging from 1,500 to 1,700 pounds for each 
gross ton of coal used. 



610. What is charcoal ? 

Charcoal is coal made by charring wood. 
Formerly charcoal was the name for charred 
sea-coal or mineral coal, and the word is 
popularly used for the carbonaceous residue 
of vegetable, animal or mineral substances 
when they have undergone smothered com- 

611. What is meant by u smothered com- 
bustion " ? 

Wood consists of carbon, hydrogen and 
oxygen, the last two being in the proportion 
to form water. When wood is heated in the 
open air it burns completely away, with the 
exception of a small white ash j but if the 
supply of air be limited, then the combustion 
is " smothered," and only the more volatile 
matters burn away, while most of the carbon 
remains in the form of wood-charcoal. 

Coal Catechism 

612. Supposing that this process be applied 
to Bituminous coal, what would be the result? 

Bituminous coal consists also of carbon, 
hydrogen and oxygen. When it is heated 
in the open air it burns away, leaving but a 
small quantity of ash ; but if we limit the 
amount of air, as in a coke oven, during com- 
bustion, then only the volatile gases are con- 
sumed, while a large proportion of the carbon 
remains in the form of coke. 

613. What, then, is coke ? 

Coke is a form of fuel obtained by the 
heating of Bituminous coal in confined 
spaces, whereby its more volatile constituents 
are consumed or burned away. 

614. How is the process of coking in mounds 
conducted ? 

Coking is done either in heaps, or mounds, 
or in coke ovens. If done in mounds, the 
coal is piled up in round stacks around a 
wide open chimney or column, the lumps in 
the centre, and the slack or fine coal outside, 
the whole being covered with wet coke dust, 
except at certain air-holes. The mound is 
ignited at the top, and burns gradually down 

Coal Catechism 

and outward, giving off at first much smoke 
and vapor. When the fire ceases to be 
smoky, the process of coking is concluded, 
all openings are covered over to exclude air 
and extinguish combustion, and the cooling 
of the mound is done by drenching it with 
water ; these mounds used to be called 
" fires." 

615. How does this differ from the process 
of making coke in ovens ? 

The principle of making coke in coke 
ovens is the same, but the process is much 
quicker and more economical, and the result- 
ing coke is better in quality than that made 
in mounds. 

616. When was the process of coke-making 
first known ? 

The process of coke-making is very old. 
As early as 2, 000 years ago coke was an ar- 
ticle of commerce in the Chinese province of 

617. What is known of early efforts in 
coking coal ? 

A. patent was issued as early as 1557, in 

Coal Catechism 

Germany, for a process that was called the 
1 1 desulphurizing of coal. ' J In 1590 a license 
was issued for cleaning coal and freeing it 
from its disagreeable smell, and further 
patents followed in 1620 and 1627 for smelt- 
ing iron with coke, and rendering coal as 
useful and agreeable as charcoal for domestic 
purposes. Again, a further patent was issued 
in 1633 to several parties for " charking " 
coal and smelting iron. 

618. What is meant by " charking " ? 

The verb " chark " means "to burn to a 
black cinder, " whereas the meaning of 
"char" was defined, "to burn wood to 
a black cinder." Coal thus prepared was 
called "coak," and wood so heated was 
called "charcoal." 

619. When was coke first made in ovens ? 
In 1769 the fact was announced by one of 

the technical writers that coke was made in 
England, "not only in piles, but in closed 
furnaces." A short time afterward the iron 
masters of Liege adopted with success that 
system of coking. At the same time coking 

Coal Catechism 

ID ovens was carried on in the villages around 
London, the coke being prepared for the use 
of malsters and for other purposes. In 1781 
the application of coke for the smelting of 
iron had become general in England, and 
coke ovens were in operation at Newcastle- 
on-Tyne and at Cambridge. 

What are the constituent parts of coke ? 
The constituent parts of coke are princi- 
pally carbon and ash, the latter being the in- 
organic matter of the coal. An analysis of 
coke would show about 90 per cent, of fixed 
carbon and the balance of ash. 

621. What is the position of coke as a fuel ? 
The excess of carbon in coke ranks it as 

capable of great heating power, and the small 
amount of combustible gases renders it slow 
to ignite and free from smoke during combus- 

622. What are the impurities in coke f 
The impurities in coke are the sulphur and 

phosphorus which it may contain, 

Coal Catechism 

623. Describe the general appearance of 


In external appearance coke may be light 
gray and bright, or, as it is generally termed, 
u silvery," or of a metallic lustre, or it may 
be dull and black, or iridescent. It is gen- 
erally rough-surfaced, but sometimes, espe- 
cially that portion of a charge near oven walls, 
is smooth and glossy, like polished graphite. 
Sometimes hair-like threads are found cling- 
ing to the larger lumps. 

6@4- Describe the physical structure of coke ? 

In its physical structure coke may be 
porous and light, or compact, dense, and 
heavy. It may be hard and capable of sus- 
taining a high crushing and compressive 
strain or load, or it may be soft and brittle, 
with a low crushing point and compressive 
strength. Its " ring" or sound when struck 
is in some samples almost metallic, and in 
others it is dull and heavy. Its degree of 
combustibility and ease of ignition, also, are 


Coal Catechism 

625. What do we mean by " dense " and 
" 7iard " coke ? 

All coke is more or less cellular in its 
structure. The less the cell space the denser 
the coke, the greater the cell space the more 
porous that is, " dense" and "porous" are 
opposite conditions. "Hard" is a term 
properly applied to the cell walls of the coke, 
and coke is "hard" or "soft" as the cell 
walls are hard or soft. Coke may therefore 
be dense and not hard that is, its cell space 
may be small and the cell walls weak j or it 
may be porous and hard that is, its cell 
space may be large and the cell walls hard 
and strong. 

626. What is the typical coke for blast-fur- 
nace use f 

Physically the typical coke for blast-fur- 
nace use should be bright, silvery, hard and 
porous, with a metallic ring. 

627. Does a chemical analysis indicate the 
value of coke ? 

Not always. An analysis of coke may 
show a very high percentage of carbon and 
very low of ash and impurities ; but if the 

Coal Catechism 

coke is soft and brittle its value as a furnace 
fuel is very small ; whereas a coke lower in 
carbon and higher in ash, if it is physically 
a hard coke, or one with hard cell walls, 
would be much superior to the one in which 
the cell walls are brittle and weak. 

628. When was coke first made in the United 
State* t 

The manufacture of coke in the United 
States is of very recent date, the census of 
1850 showing a total amount in value of only 
$15,000. Prior to this small quantities of 
coke were made for smelting iron in Pennsyl- 

629. Relate the process of coke-making in the 
United States * 

In 1870 the manufacture of coke in Ohio 
was begun, and in 1880 coke was manufac- 
tured in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Illi- 
nois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee 
and West Virginia, nine States in all. 

630. From what coal seams is most of the coal 
taken for coking in the United States ? 

By far the largest part of the coal used for 

Coal Catechism 

coking in the United States comes from three 
coal seams the Pittsburg seam in Pennsyl- 
vania, the Pottsville conglomerate in the New 
Eiver and Flat Top districts of Virginia and 
West Virginia, and the Pratt seam of Ala- 

631. From what coal is ConnellsviUe coke 
made ? 

The coal used in making ConnellsviUe coke 
is from the Pittsburg seam, locally known as 
the u ConnellsviUe " seam. The run-of-mine 
coal is put directly into the ovens, of the form 
known as the " bee-hive" pattern, without 
any preparation or screening, and is con- 
verted into coke. 

632. Describe the process of charging the 
coal in bee-hive ovens ? 

The coal is brought to the ovens in iron 
cars called "larries," which discharge their 
contents through a circular opening in the 
tops of the ovens by means of chutes attached 
to the larries. This is called " charging" 
the ovens, and a charge is about six tons of 
coal. A coke oven has two openings the 

Coal Catechism 

circular opening in the top or crown, and 
another in the side, called the door. After 
charging, the door is bricked up and plas- 
tered with clay, leaving a small opening at 
the top of the bricks. 

633. How is combustion first produced in the 
ovens ? 

When coke ovens are first "lighted," fires 
are made in them of wood, and afterward of 
coal or coke. These fires are merely pre- 
liminary, and are made to heat the ovens. 
When they have been sufficiently heated the 
fires are drawn and the ovens carefully 
cleaned of ashes. The charges of coking 
coal are now put in the "ovens, and soon 
ignite from the heat retained from the pre- 
vious fires, the distillation of gases begins, 
and these gases pass off through the holes in 
the tops of the ovens. 

634. How is the coke drawn from the ovens ? 
The coal is allowed to burn in the ovens 

for 48 hours, at the end of which time it is 
thoroughly coked ; this is ascertained by 
looking into the oven over the top of the 
door. A man then tears away the brick door 

Coal Catechism 

and, inserting the nozzle of a hose, drenches 
the heated mass with water until it is 
quenched. The coke is then allowed to 
stand until the water is all driven off as 
vapor, after which it is drawn out on the 
ground by laborers using long iron scrapers. 
From the ground the coke is forked into the 
railroad cars and shipped to its destination. 

685. How is combustion in the ovens con- 
tinued ? 

The heat retained in an oven from the pre- 
vious charge, together with that obtained 
from the alternate ovens which are in blast 
the coke being drawn from every other oven 
is sufficient to continue combustion after 
each charge is made. 

636. What method is pursued in charging 
coke ovens ? 

An oven charged, say on Monday, would 
be ready to draw on Wednesday; an oven 
charged on Tuesday would be drawn on 
Thursday, etc. 

637. What is meant by " 72-hour " coke ? 
Owing to the suspension of labor on Sun- 


Coal Catechism 

day, an oven charged on Friday must neces- 
sarily go over to Monday, so that all charges 
made on Friday and drawn on Monday must 
be in the ovens 72 hours, and the coke result- 
ing is called 72-hour coke. 

638. Is "72-hour" coke better than "48- 
hour " coke f 

All other conditions being equal, 72-hour 
coke does not differ from 48-hour coke, either 
in analysis or physical structure. A Friday 
oven is always charged with an increased 
amount of coal, which necessitates longer 
burning ; the resultant coke is therefore no 
better than the coke from the smaller charges 
of the other days in the week. When the 
gases have been expelled from the coal the 
ovens are sealed, with a lid over the top 
opening, and no additional burning will im- 
prove the quality of the coke. 

639. How does the charge of coal burn in a 
coke oven ? 

The charge of coal begins to burn and coke 
from the top downward, as in charcoal or 
coke piles in the open air. Should sufficient 

Coal Catechism 

air be admitted to the ovens, the coal would 
be consumed to ashes. 

640. What are " black ends " in coke ? 
Black ends are caused by cold oven floors 

or insufficient burning, whereby the process 
of coking is arrested before that part of the 
coal is converted which rests upon the floor 
of the oven. Black ends should not be con- 
fused with " smoked ends," the latter being 
simply a discoloration of the coke with 
smoke, which in no way impairs its quality. 

641. What is " crushed " coke ? 

Coke which is broken and screened into 
various sizes, like Anthracite coal, for do- 
mestic use is called crushed coke. One ton 
of coke so prepared is equal in bulk to about 
two tons of Anthracite. Owing to its free- 
dom from gas and clinkers, together with its 
large percentage of heat units, crushed coke 
is a typical domestic fuel. 

642 What is the difference between "fur- 
nace " and "foundry " coke ? 

There is no essential difference, both com- 
ing from the same ovens, and frequently from 

Coal Catechism 

the same charges. Operators, however, 
make a difference in the price for their 
trouble and labor in selecting coke for 
foundry use, sometimes having it hand-picked 
for that purpose. 

643. What is the annual coke production of 
the United States ? 

At present coke is made in 25 States of the 
Union at the rate of about 26, 000, 000 net 
tons annually from about 80,000 ovens. 




644. What is meant by the word u by-prod- 
uct " ? , 

A by-product is a secondary or additional 
product something produced, as in a man- 
ufacturing process, in addition to the prin- 
cipal product. 

645. What are the by-products of coke ? 

In the coking process the by-products 
which are frequently collected and utilized 
are the gas, tar and ammonia. 

646. How are these by-products collected ? 
These by-products are collected by burning 

the coal in a peculiar kind of coke oven 
other than the bee-hive pattern. These 
special ovens are called u flue ovens." 

647. What is the principle of a flue oven ? 
The essential principle of a flue or retort 

oven is the coking of the coal in retorts or 
air-tight chambers, as in a gas works. The 

Coal Catechism 

coal in the ordinary bee-hive oven is burned 
from the inside, while that in a flue oven is 
burned from gas on the outside. 

648. Describe the construction of flue ovens ? 

The Semet-Solvay flue ovens are con- 
structed in a rectangular form, the retorts be- 
ing above the foundations of the ovens. 
The ovens are charged at the top by larries, 
and the coal is burned 24 hours, or one-half 
the time required by the common bee-hive 
ovens. On each side of the ovens are three 
horizontal flues ruoning the entire length 
and containing gas, which heats the ovens. 
The flues are made of tile and are not more 
than two inches thick, so "that the heat can 
easily be conveyed through. 

649. How are the ovens operated ? 

The gas in the horizontal flues that are 
used to heat the ovens is taken from the other 
ovens that have been burned ; one oven is 
drawn every two hours, and the waste heat 
is saved in boilers which are placed between 
two rows of ovens. The gas from the ovens 
goes to the by-product house, and is there 
washed and scrubbed and the by-products 

Coal Catechism 

obtained. In every ton of coal there is esti- 
mated to be 10,000 cubic feet of gas ; of this 
amount 7,000 feet are used for heating the 
ovens and the remainder is saved and used 
for fuel or illuminating purposes. 

650. How is the coke drawn from the ovens f 
These ovens can be opened at both ends, 

and the coke pushed out by an engine run- 
ning along the end of the ovens. The coke 
thus forced out is drenched with water and 
cooled as in the bee-hive process. 

651. How does the cost of a flue oven com- 
pare with a bee-hive ? 

The cost of the flue oven is three or four 
times that of the bee-hive oven, but it is 
claimed that the increased yield of retort 
coke as compared with oven coke, together 
with the value of the by-products obtained, 
compensates for the difference. 

652. What is known of this system of coke 
making in the United States ? 

Comparatively little, as its introduction 
into this country is of recent date. The con- 
tinent of Europe, however, has practically 

Coal Catechism 

abandoned the bee-hive ovens. In Germany, 
Belgium and France there are only a few is- 
olated plants of bee-hive ovens in operation. 
Such, however, is not the case in England, 
where the bee-hive ovens, as in this country, 
are in general use. 

653. In the production of illuminating gas, 
what by-products are obtained f 

In making illuminating gas from coal we 
obtain as by-products ammoniacal liquor, tar 
and coke. 

664. What use can be made of these ? 

The coke can be used as fuel, while the tar 
and ammoniacal liquor can by chemical de- 
composition be used in a great variety of 
processes of great value and utility. 

655. How much tar can be obtained from a 
ton of coal ? 

From a ton of coal we get about 110 to 120 
pounds of tar. 

656. How much watery liquor is thus ob- 
tained ? 

From a ton of coal we get about 20 to 25 
gallons of watery liquor. 

Coal Catechism 

657. What is obtained from the tar ? 

Tar furnishes the raw material for the pro- 
duction of a multitude of valuable substances 
coloring matters better than natural dyes ; 
explosives, such as picric acid ; perfumes and 
flavoring materials, like bitter almond-oil and 
vanillin ; sweetening matter, like saccharin ; 
disinfectants, like carbolic acid ; medicines 
rivaling the natural alkaloids ; and devel- 
opers for photographers, such as hydro- 
quinone and eikonogen. 

658. What is paraffin ? 

Paraffin is a wax-like substance obtained 
by distillation from highly -Bituminous cannel 
coal. It has for years been the principal ma- 
terial employed in the manufacture of candles 
in Great Britain and Germany, having for 
that purpose to a large extent superseded the 
use of beeswax, spermaceti, stearic acid and 
tallow. It is also used in many branches of 
the arts and manufactures. 

659. How is paraffin produced ? 

The coal or Bituminous shale, when taken 
from the mines, is broken into small pieces 

Coal Catechism 

and put into retorts. In the retorts the first 
chemical process destructive distillation 
takes place. The coal, according to quality, 
yields from 20 to 40 gallons of crude oil per 
ton, and over 60 gallons of ammonia water, 
from which sulphate of ammonia is obtained. 
The paraffin is obtained by pressing and re- 
frigeration of the oil. It is afterward refined 
and then filtered through cloth and filter- 
paper and run into pans to solidify into 
cakes of convenient size for the candle 

660. Where is paraffin chiefly produced ? 
In Scotland, where some 15 companies with 

an aggregate capital of about $12,000,000 are 
engaged in this industry alone. These com- 
panies use about 2,000,000 tons of coal per 
annum, producing about 60,000,000 gallons 
of crude oil. 

661. Is paraffin from coal manufactured in 
the United States ? 

The industry was started here, but the dis- 
covery of petroleum essentially the same 
thing as paraffin oil rendered the business 


Coal Catechism 

662. What is pitch? 

Pitch is a thick, black, sticky substance 
obtained by boiling down tar. 

663. How is it utilized ? 

When mixed with coal dust, pitch is used 
in the manufacture of briquettes for artificial 
fuel. Pitch is also used in all the applica- 
tions of asphalt for paving, roofing and 

664. How is sulphate of ammonia, obtained 
from the watery liquor in coal, utilized ? 

Sulphate of ammonia is extensively used in 
various chemical operations, and is also in 
good demand as a fertilizer. It adds nitro- 
gen to the soil, and is an excellent agent for 
stimulating all plant growth. 

665. Are tar and ammonia recovered from 
other than gas works f 

For many years tar and ammonia have 
been recovered from the coal gases which 
burned away and were wasted at the tops of 
the blast furnaces. This is notably the case 
in Scotland, where nearly all the blast fur- 

Coal Catechism 

naces are equipped to utilize the waste 
ises : 
1st. Under the boilers of the blowing en- 

2d. In the air-stoves for heating the blast. 

3d. In the recovery plant for tar and am- 

666. How will coal be used in the future ? 

The time is not far distant when we will 
abandon the clumsy, inefficient contrivances 
for burning coal in our houses and work- 
shops. The annoyance of black coal dust, 
sooty smoke, and grimy ashes will be replaced 
by the comfort and convenience of fuel gas 
of high grade and healthful properties. 
Central plants will deliver this cleanly and 
convenient product for all purposes of 
warmth and power. 

The impurities and inorganic matter of 
coal will first be removed, the noxious vapors 
scrubbed and purified. Then, hand in hand 
with its beautiful sister Electricity, we will 
introduce into our homes Gas, the pure spirit 
of coal. 




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